Science engagement

We are funding opportunities for the public to engage with science, with the aim of encouraging more people to study and pursue careers in the field.

This will help to strengthen Scotland's research and development base in science, technology and engineering.

From 2018 to 2019 we put £3.025 million into delivering public science engagement experiences to more than one million people. 

National STEM engagement campaign – Aye for Ideas

We have developed a national campaign, Aye for Ideas, to inspire and engage people of all ages and backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

A range of Aye for Ideas information and promotional materials are available for use by our partners, including science centres, schools and businesses.

Science centres

We give the majority of public science engagement funding (£2.625 million from 2018 to 2019) to Scotland's science centres, which aim to encourage people of all ages to engage with science by presenting it in a fun, inspiring and educational way. 

Scotland's science centres are visited by more than 650,000 people, both locals and tourists, every year. There is one in each of Scotland's four largest cities: 

Science festivals

We provide funding for science festivals to make science accessible to a wider Scottish audience, with a particular focus on strengthening young people's interest and knowledge in science. They provide an annual and local focus for activities and events, often in cities or towns that don't have a science centre of their own.

Scotland's science festivals typically include:

  • a schools programme for primary and secondary schools
  • public events, such as topical debates or talks by well-known scientists
  • family activities allowing children and parents to learn about science together

The first and largest of Scotland's science festivals is the Edinburgh International Science Festival, which began in 1989.

From 2018 to 2019 we provided £250,000 of funding to 18 science festivals, for a public and schools audience of 200,000.

Supporting the curriculum

From 2018 to 2019 a total of £100,000 of science engagement funding was awarded to two Scotland-wide initiatives that take science shows and workshops into schools to support Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education.

£55,000 in the Generation Science shows for primary schools, run by Edinburgh Science

£45,000 in Young Engineers and Science Clubs at primary and secondary schools, run by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry