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Inspiring Science Fund Grant

Wellcome Trust

Grant amount: £150,000 - £3,000,000

Next anticipated deadline: Oct 19, 2018 9:00am PDT (Pre proposal)

Later anticipated deadlines: Feb 28, 2019 9:00am PST (Full proposal)

Applicant type: Nonprofit Museum/Library/Zoo

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Capital Project

Location of project: United Kingdom

Location of residency: United Kingdom

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The Inspiring Science Fund supports science centres across the UK. It's a capital fund that helps centres rethink what they do and what they offer to the public. 

The scheme is co-funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the Wellcome Trust.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Applicants: The Inspiring Science Fund is open to existing not-for-profit or charitable science centres in the UK.
    • Organisations should: 
      • have been in existence for at least one year
      • attract a minimum of 30,000 visitors a year
      • have a proven and viable business model.
  • Activities
    • Funded activities must take place in the UK.
    • The Inspiring Science Fund supports projects that:
      • will create opportunities for young people and the public to learn about, and engage with, science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)
      • will sustain and extend the centre's audience base, with an increased focus on underrepresented and underserved audiences
      • could improve the organisation’s financial sustainability and resilience.
    • The funding you ask for must mainly be used for capital investment.
      • Some examples include:
        • exhibitions about scientific or technological subjects that have significant science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) content
        • education and learning spaces, such as laboratories or classrooms.
    • As part of your project, The Inspiring Science Fund may also support:
      • related facilities and infrastructure that will improve the visitor experience and/or increase access
      • new ways of working or engaging with young people and the public. 
      • Some ideas include:
        • programmes linked to the capital project
        • outreach activities
        • training and development for staff and volunteers. 
    • Financial expectations
      • If you are planning the following activities, they should form no more than 30 per cent of your total grant:
        • improving related facilities and infrastructure
        • supporting new methods of public engagement.
      • Funded projects must usually remain accessible to audiences for at least eight years. 
      • Your application should show how the project outcomes will be sustained after the funding has finished and how the organisation will meet any additional running costs. 
      • Organisations should provide about 30 per cent of match funding for their projects.
  • Support can include: 
    • staff/personnel costs for those who are essential to your project
      • You can ask for salary costs for staff, full or part time, who will work on your project. You can only ask for these if there is no other form of funding available.
      • Salary costs can cover:
        • admin support staff
        • project managers
        • consultants
        • key management/creative staff
        • seconded staff salaries for the development and delivery of your project.
    • specific equipment or materials for educational and informal learning spaces
    • initiatives that increase accessibility, such as staff professional development, volunteer training and access improvements
    • ICT costs
      • You can ask for ICT costs if they're part of the main project. These shouldn't be more than 50% of the total project cost. 
    • building works such as related facilities, infrastructure and services, including change of layout or use
    • costs towards evaluating your project
    • funding for the wider dissemination of your project, including conferences and seminars
    • professional and legal fees if they're directly associated with your project
    • contingency
    • VAT that you can't recover from HMRC if you're registered for VAT.


    • The Inspiring Science Fund will prioritise projects that:
      • show imaginative ways to engage the public with STEM, and expand and diversify audiences
      • reach and meet the needs of underrepresented and underserved audiences.


    • Who can't apply
      • UK national museums and museums sponsored by central government.
      • Projects eligible for capital funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council (UK), or Big Lottery fund.
      • Capital projects dedicated to engaging the public with historic collections.
    • You can’t apply for an Inspiring Science Fund and a Capital Award at the same time. Please contact us to discuss which award is most relevant to your project.
    • The Inspiring Science Fund don’t provide funding for:
      • overheads
      • commercial projects, such as buying land or buildings for rent
      • capital assets you plan to sell or dispose of
      • increased costs for projects where construction is already underway
      • increased running costs from undertaking these projects
      • general appeals or endowments.
      • The Inspiring Science Fund won't pay for ongoing ICT costs such as maintenance or licences.

    About this funder:

    View past grantees & full 990 summary