School grants offer underrepresented audiences a gateway into science

Schools across the UK are being invited to apply for the British Science Association’s (BSA) new round of underrepresented audiences grants, aimed at empowering disadvantaged students to explore the world of science.

These grants will help schools to run CREST Awards with students who are currently underrepresented in science, including those who are from minority ethnic backgrounds, eligible for pupil premium, or based in small and rural schools.

Thanks to the support of UK Research and Innovation, up to £600 will be available for schools that meet the criteria. These grants will assist with CREST registration and resource costs, helping to remove financial barriers that may otherwise prevent students from participating in the Awards.

The CREST Awards aim to inspire young people to think and act like scientists and engineers through energising, curriculum-mapped practical projects that appeal to them. CREST allows students to take the lead on their own investigations and explore the real-life impact of science through a range of topics, from video gaming to the environment, enriching their learning and building their aspirations in science-based subjects and careers.

BSA research has shown that the benefits of CREST are particularly significant for disadvantaged students, with Free School Meals (FSM)-eligible students who completed CREST Silver Awards or higher showing a two-thirds of a grade improvement. FSM-eligible students who completed CREST Silver Awards were also found to be 38 per cent more likely to take a STEM subject at AS level.

Through the underrepresented audiences grants programme, the BSA therefore aims to widen access to CREST’s flexible science-based projects and close attainment gaps, all whilst inspiring young people of all ages and backgrounds to connect with science.

Jane Dowden, Education Innovations Manager at the British Science Association, said: “For many years, certain groups of people have been missing or excluded from STEM subjects. At the British Science Association, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to engage in science and develop a passion for STEM subjects.

“Through outreach programmes like our grants, we can help to increase science-based opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds, so more students can develop a real interest in STEM. By removing financial barriers to science education, we hope to inspire a whole new generation of scientists from all walks of life.”

Applications are now open and the deadline for submissions is 5pm on Friday 15 October 2021. More information on eligibility and how to apply can be found at

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