Applications invited for research and development projects in science education

07 August 2012

The Foundation is inviting funding applications for research and development projects in science education. Details of our priorities in this area and how to apply are available on our science education page.

We have also made some refinements to our priorities for funding in mathematics education.

These changes follow a decision by Trustees to once again open our work in science education to a wider range of research and development projects led by external partners.

50 years in science and mathematics education

This year, we celebrated 50 years of funding work in science and mathematics education. Throughout this time, our work has spanned research, capacity building and curriculum development. These projects have been carried out by the Foundation’s grant-holders and partners, although more recent projects have mainly involved the Foundation’s internal curriculum development team, supported by invaluable contributions from external consultants.

To give us additional scope to support external projects, we have decided that our small in-house science and mathematics team will no longer lead on curriculum projects and their dissemination through existing professional development networks. We will become more active in convening a range of activities in science and mathematics education focusing on policy, practice and capacity development.

We will ensure that the legacy of our curriculum work, along with outcomes of any new projects, is supported on our own website or the websites of appropriate dissemination partners.

Wider context

Our work in science and mathematics education should be seen in the context of our other areas of work in education and the social sciences. These include learning and development in early childhood, secondary education transitions, girls’ and women’s education, and statistical literacy and quantitative skills. As with all of our work we are only interested in applications with a well articulated focus, a rigorous methodology and clear implications for policy and/or practice. Details of our funding criteria are set out in our Guide for Applicants.

The Foundation is also reorienting its programmes of STEM-related research experience for students. We are currently exploring ways in which our Science Bursaries for Schools & Colleges can better support widening participation and progression in STEM subjects.

As announced last year, our programme of Undergraduate Research Bursaries is being transferred to a range of learned societies and other subject organisations, and our involvement will cease after the 2013 round of awards.

Responsive and strategic engagement

Taken together, we believe that these changes will enable the Foundation to engage more responsively and strategically with the many individuals and organisations who share our interests in science and mathematics education. We hope they will allow us to fund a wider range of exciting projects to improve understanding, policy and practice in teaching and learning.