Science and technology can inspire people from all backgrounds: it’s exciting, it’s accessible, and it leads to many types of rewarding work. In reality, we know that the playing field isn’t level – there are areas all across the UK where people don’t have the same opportunities to explore science and technology, and children who simply end up feeling that it’s not for them.
Wonder is about changing that. Wonder is about really connecting people from all backgrounds with our science and technology. Most of all, Wonder is about giving under-served communities an equal voice by listening, understanding, and responding to what people want to know about science and technology. The launch of Wonder marks a long-term commitment by STFC public engagement to move our focus towards audience-driven public engagement with under-served communities in the most socioeconomically-deprived areas of the UK. We want more working with people, and less delivering to people.
This will mean changes to every aspect of our engagement programme: our grant funding, our national laboratories, and our programmes with partners. Our approach will be built around three important features: working in collaborative partnerships; supporting the right people, to work in the right places; and sharing good practice so that others can learn at the same time as we learn.
As the first step, we are pleased to announce that we are working with the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement to launch Wonder Match, a series of partnership-building events that are designed to support community organisations and STFC-funded researchers to explore collaborations that will allow diverse audiences to engage with STFC science and technology.