1. Home
  2. News
  3. Press releases and latest news
  4. Science Museum Group launches UK's first Academy for informal Science Engagement

Science Museum Group launches UK's first Academy for informal Science Engagement

8 October 2018
The Science Museum Group today launched a major new initiative to help address the challenge of low engagement with science and tackle the STEM skills shortage which costs UK businesses around £1.5 billion a year
Science Museum Group

Supported by founding partner BP, the Science Museum Group Academy will be the UK's first dedicated centre of excellence for practitioners in the informal STEM sector.


Rooted in 25 years of experience delivering informal science training across the world, the Academy will provide research-led science engagement training, support and resources for thousands of teachers, museum and STEM professionals, improving the quality and provision of informal science learning experiences in the UK and beyond.


By regularly bringing together these practitioners at the Science Museum in London, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester (from spring 2019) and other locations across the UK, delivering more effective science engagement training and launching an online hub to share resources, research and best practice, the Academy will empower thousands of dedicated individuals to create a more STEM literate society.


At the core of the Academy's work is the concept of science capital - a measure of how people's relationship with science can be deepened through formal and informal experiences. The Academy builds on the legacy of Enterprising Science - a five-year partnership between the Science Museum Group, King's College London, University College London and BP, and the Group's own extensive expertise to convert academic research into practise at scale and transform science engagement.


Launching during the Year of Engineering, the Academy will help address an urgent need across the UK. The Gatsby Charitable Foundation estimates 700,000 additional STEM technicians will be needed to meet demand within a decade.


Susan Raikes, Director of Learning for the Science Museum Group, said:


'Helping more people find meaning and relevance in science is at the heart of the Science Museum Group's mission to inspire futures. The Academy's vital work - which is only possible thanks to BP's support - is a critical part of this mission. Each STEM practitioner supported by the Academy will gain the tools to create incredible science engagement opportunities for a much wider audience, helping to address the challenges of low engagement with science across the UK.'


Sam Gyimah MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science Research and Innovation said:


'It's promising to see the increasing uptake in STEM subjects in undergraduate and postgraduate roles, helping to create the Rosalind Franklins, Alan Turings and Stephen Hawkings of the future.


'Our modern Industrial Strategy sets out our ambitions to foster the right environment for science to thrive in the UK, with skilled experts pioneering emerging technologies. The Science Museum Group Academy will equip teachers, museum staff and STEM professionals with further expertise to continue to inspire the next generation.'


Peter Mather, Group Regional President, Europe and Head of Country, UK at BP said:


'Continuing BP's 50 years of support for STEM education in the UK, we are delighted to be working with the Science Museum Group to build deeper engagement across the UK with the STEM subjects. As we make the transition to a lower carbon future, the STEM skills essential for our future sustainability are in scarce supply. Our work with schools, communities, families and teachers has an important role to play in helping to maintain and grow the talent needed for our shared future.'

Notes to editors

The Science Museum Group Academy is the UK's first dedicated centre of expertise for practitioners in the informal STEM sector. Research-informed science engagement training courses will be delivered free of charge to over 2,500 UK teachers, museum and science centre professionals and STEM practitioners (including STEM ambassadors) each year by the Academy.


The training will be delivered at the Science Museum in London, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester (from spring 2019) and at other locations across the UK. To access the Academy's online hub visit group.sciencemuseum.org.uk/academy.


Further information on science capital and the Science Museum Group's leading role in science engagement research can be found at groupsciencemuseum.org.uk/sciencecapital.


For more information or images, please contact Will Stanley on will.stanley@sciencemuseum.ac.uk or 020 7942 4429.


About the Science Museum Group

We are the world's leading group of science museums. welcoming over five million visitors each year to five sites: the Science Museum in London; the National Railway Museum in York; the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester; the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford; and Locomotion in Shildon.


We share the stories of innovations and people that shaped our world and are transforming the future. constantly reinterpreting our astonishingly diverse collection spanning science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. Standout objects include the record­ breaking locomotive Flying Scotsman, Richard Arkwright's textile machinery, Alan Turing's Pilot ACE computer and the earliest surviving recording of British television.


Our mission is to inspire futures - igniting curiosity among people of all ages and backgrounds. Each year. our museums attract more than 600,000 visits by education groups, while our touring exhibition programme brings our creativity and scholarship to audiences across the globe.


More information can be found at group.sciencemuseum.org.uk.


About BP

BP is a global energy business with wide reach across the world's energy system. The energy we produce serves to power economic growth and lift people out of poverty. In the future, the way heat, light and mobility are delivered will change.


We aim to anchor our business in these changing patterns of demand, rather than in the quest for supply. We have a real contribution to make the world's ambition of a low carbon future. We operate in 70 countries worldwide, and employ around 74.000 people.


In the UK we supported around 141,000 jobs in 2017- approximately 1 in every 226 across the whole of the UK economy.