BSA grant to ‘Engage’ underrepresented students in STEM


Schools across the UK are being invited to apply for the new Engage Grants from the British Science Association (BSA). The Engage Grants support schools with high numbers of pupils who are often underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) to empower their pupils to explore and enjoy the world of science. 

If their applications are successful, the grant enables schools with a high proportion of pupils currently underrepresented in STEM, including those who are from ethnic minority backgrounds, eligible for pupil premium, or based in small and rural schools, to engage in STEM via the CREST Awards. The BSA’s CREST Awards scheme help capture the attention and interest of children and young people, and encourage them to think and act like real life scientists.

Schools selected to receive the grant are given up to £600. Schools can use up to £300 to help with the costs of CREST registration and resources, removing financial barriers that would have previously prevented pupils from participating in the projects.

CREST Awards use project-based learning to encourage children and young people to engage with science in meaningful and fun way, as they complete engaging, practical challenges and projects which aligned with the curriculum.  CREST gives students agency over their learning by enabling them to lead investigations and explore the real-life impact of topics within science that appeal to them, from sustainability to coding. In addition to enhancing their learning, CREST helps students develop a genuine interest in STEM subjects, building their aspirations and opening their eyes to new possible career paths.

Students who participate in CREST Awards programmes are 21% more likely to study STEM subjects at AS level (rising to 38% for students on free school meals); encouraging participation in science-related subjects is more important than ever, as research suggests that entries to some STEM A level and GCSE exams have dropped in recent years. The Engage Grant will help more teachers  than ever ignite a passion for science in their students.

Teachers who apply on behalf of their schools for the Engage Grant will be offered the opportunity to join the Engage Teacher Network. Engage is a community of teachers working in schools in challenging circumstances who want to transform access to relevant and meaningful science projects for all children, especially those who are most often underrepresented in the STEM sector.

Susan Matambanadzo, Education Manager at the British Science Association, said:

“Across many aspects of society and education, children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds have been excluded or left behind for years. Whilst there has been much progress and effort to correct this, there is still more work to be done to ensure equitable access and participation, particularly within STEM subjects.

The Engage Grant reflects the BSA’s belief that everyone should have the opportunity to engage in science and have the chance to develop a true passion for STEM subjects. By removing the financial barriers to science engagement, we can increase opportunities for young people from underrepresented backgrounds to discover their passion for STEM subjects and become the next generation of scientists.”

Applications are now open and the deadline for submissions is 4.59pm on Monday 30th October 2023. More information on eligibility and how to apply can be found here