Funding for public engagement with science organisations
We support organisations that are in possession of significant scientific or natural history collections to improve public engagement with science through projects related to the history of science. Grants are generally awarded towards refurbishing or creating new galleries and, occasionally, education and learning spaces.
The organisation should meet all of the following criteria:
- be a registered charity, local authority or university
- be displaying scientific or natural history collections of national significance
- if a museum, be fully accredited under the Museums Accreditation Scheme
The project should aim to produce one or more of the following outcomes:
- Increased numbers of visitors and engagement of new audiences
- Improved educational experience and understanding of science
- Improved financial stability of the organisation
Other programmes that may be of interest
What we don't fund
Examples of ineligible projects and costs include:
- Purchase of land or existing buildings (including a building’s freehold)
- Grants direct to individuals
- Grants through conduit organisations
- Overheads, maintenance costs, VAT and professional fees
- Non-specific appeals (including circulars) and endowment funds
- Costs of meetings, exhibitions, concerts, expeditions, conferences, lectures, etc.
- Salary costs
- Running costs, including vehicle fuel and maintenance
- Film, websites or promotional materials
- Repayment of loans
- Projects that have already been completed or will be by the time of award
How to apply
We run a two stage application process.
Information that we need at this stage includes a brief description of the project, including the total cost, the current funding shortfall and the proposed timetable. It is important that the application comes with the full backing of the institution and a cover letter signed by the Chief Executive or equivalent should accompany the submission. View the list of questions asked at Stage 1.
Audited accounts for the past two years should also be submitted with the online application. The accounts provided should relate to the ongoing underlying operating activities of the organisation itself and not a related fundraising arm or charity. We undertake a financial appraisal of all applications, and you may be asked by our Head of Finance to respond to specific queries.
If your Stage 1 application is successful, we will invite you to submit a Stage 2 application.
Stage 2 applications are submitted to us by invitation only and should be sent by email. Unless otherwise agreed, we require that at least 50% of the capital costs of the project are raised before submission (unless the project cost is under £50,000) and any necessary planning permission is in place. View guidance on what to include in a Stage 2 application.
Stage 2 applications are sent out to expert reviewers and if questions or queries are raised, applicants are given an opportunity to respond. Applications are then considered by an expert Panel, who make recommendations to our Trustees.
When to apply
We run two funding rounds each year. The key dates are:
Stage 1 application deadline: 5 January
Stage 2 application deadline: 1 March
Funding decision: June
Stage 1 application deadline: 1 July
Stage 2 application deadlines: 1 September
Funding decision: December
Grants are not made retrospectively, and so your project must be ongoing at the time that a funding decision is made (i.e. June or December).
Need to know
Who can apply:
Registered or exempt charity (or equivalent), local authority or university
Location of applicant and project:
New buildings, refurbishment work and equipment to improve public engagement with science though the history of science
Minimum grant amount:
Usual grant range:
£100,000 – £250,000
Match funding required:
Yes, if project cost is >£50,000
June and December annually. Projects must not be completed before a funding decision is made
Wolfson funding programme:
Science & Medicine
Please contact us if you have a question about applying
Call: 020 7323 5730