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Science Oxford receives Project Inspire grant for digital engagement

Friday 12th March 2021

Science Oxford is delighted to announce successful funding from the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC) for their Project Inspire: Digital Engagement and Innovation Programme. The project is in collaboration with the Inspiring Science Fund, a partnership between UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Wellcome.

Science Oxford is one of eight UK Science and Discovery Centres to have been selected to receive grants of £15,000 to develop new and creative digital ways to engage and involve under-served and under-represented communities and audiences with STEM.

The grant will be used to develop digital resources – indoors and outdoors – that support visitors to our Science Oxford Centre who are neurodiverse and/or have a disability, both before and during their visit. After consultation and co-creation with family support groups, we will share the resources on our website for all to download. The long-term aim is to strengthen our relationships with underserved family support groups locally through more regular interactions and to embed learning from the project into organisation-wide staff training programmes.

We know from our work with community special schools during the creation and opening of the Science Oxford Centre that their children benefit from a visit to our Centre and they’ve been teaching us how to better cater for a wider range of educational needs before, and during, visits. We are now looking forward to being able to translate this learning into the provision of digital resources that will improve access for underserved families and support groups. We excited to be collaborating with groups from local and regional organisations including Berkshire Vision and Oxfordshire Association for the Blind, amongst others, who will be trying out resources and helping to develop our activities.

Project lead, Dr Emily Fisk says: “I’m thrilled that Science Oxford have been awarded this opportunity. I am hopeful that this could be the start of some wonderful new relationships in the community, and there are already a few digital ideas in the mix – including audio/visual guides and a sensory outdoor trail. I’m really looking forward to getting to know all the families in the support groups, to learn from their experiences and to co-create some great new resources together.”

Bridget Holligan, Science Oxford’s Director of Education and Engagement says: “We are delighted to receive this grant from ASDC as we are keen to improve what we do in order to better serve more diverse audiences. It is really important for our mission to make science something that all young people feel can be for them. We know that our Science Oxford Centre has great potential to provide ‘inclusive challenge’. This grant will really help us to develop stronger relationships with family support groups and to learn from them about how we can make visits accessible for more neurodiverse visitors and for those with disabilities.”

Thank you ASDC for your support. We are looking forward to getting started on Project Inspire!

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