National Forum for Public Engagement with STEM
From exhibitions on how your food cravings control you, to interactive exhibits where you can dance with your atomic field, we are fortunate living in the UK and to have a depth of inspirational and exciting activity geared towards informal science learning (learning that takes place outside of the formal curriculum). Behind the scenes of this activity is a whole infrastructure of educators, scientists, organisations and funders.
In 2012, the Wellcome Trust published a review of Informal Science Learning, which identified the need for a National Forum that brings together all the major funders in this sector to better understand where to place investment and to improve collaboration, co-operation and learning across the sector. This Forum was established in 2014, its members would later include government departments, learned societies, media organisations and business.
The National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) were awarded the contract to act as secretariat for the Forum until October 2015. As an associate with the NCCPE I have supported the Forum’s activity. This has included conducting in-depth interviews with members and synthesising these findings to help identify key strategic options and undertaking a review of the grant funding system. As the Forum enters the later part of 2015 I will be continuing to support the management and facilitation of forum meetings and develop links between the forum and the wider sector including designing and co-facilitating a National stakeholder event.
Image: Credit Fernan Federici & Jim Haseloff, Wellcome Images. Cell division and gene expression in plant cells