CLIENTS: Wellcome and UK Research & Innovation
Start Date: June 2017
Expected end date: 2024
The Inspiring Science Fund is a £30M competitive grant scheme for science centres co-funded by Wellcome and UKRI. The programme objectives are to:
- Create more opportunities for young people and the public to learn and engage with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in ways which are innovative, and which reach and meet their needs
- Sustain and extend the audience base, with an increased focus on underrepresented and underserved audiences, and increase the overall number visiting or taking part in STEM activities
- Have the potential to improve funded organisations’ financial stability and resilience
Graphic Science are the external evaluators for this funding programme.
We are employing a mixed methods approach to understand the short and longer-term impacts of the funding programme across all funded projects as well as identifying learning that can be used by the sector as a whole.
This is a complex, multi-faceted evaluation with a large qualitative component as well as quantitative elements. Qualitative elements include narrative reporting and interviews with funded centres as well as analysis of strategic, policy, and communications documents. Quantitative elements include cohort-wide visitor exit and staff surveys, developed in consultation with funded organisations. These surveys are the result of extensive research looking at survey instruments from a wide range of sources including the Office for National Statistics, COVES, Public Attitudes to Science, Stonewall, the Natural History Museum, and incorporating indicators for science capital.
For this project we have convened an evaluation advisory group to advise on our methods and plans for the evaluation of the impact of the Inspiring Science Fund. By contributing broad knowledge of the current evidence landscape and providing constructive challenge to evidence and findings, the group gives independent support and oversight that will contribute in due course to sector development aspirations.
Outputs include a Theory of Change for the programme, evaluation framework, written reports, conference sessions and presentations, surveys, and creation of a self-assessment tool for financial resilience.