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Our approach and science capital

With awe-inspiring authentic objects, cutting-edge stories and hands-on activities, we celebrate and showcase the past, present and future of science and technology.

The Science Museum Group’s mission is to Inspire Futures. Central to inspiring the next generation of scientists, inventors and engineers is our work towards a society where everyone feels that science is for them, and that they have opportunities to access the social and economic benefits it brings.

Through our value of being Open for All, we are committed to playing our part in enabling more people to engage with and participate in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and to bring greater diversity to the type of people who participate in and contribute to science and innovation.

Taking a science capital informed approach

Science capital gives us research-based insights into what influences and shapes people’s attitudes, engagement and relationship with STEM.

It recognises the significance of what you know about STEM, how you think about it, what you do and who you know in shaping your attitude and relationship with science and maths.

Each of us has a different amount of science capital; it is not fixed and can change across a lifetime. Every experience that you have can influence your relationship with STEM both positively and negatively.

The more science capital you have, the more likely you are to feel that STEM is useful and important in your life, something you have a stake in and which is ‘for you’.

The science capital approach was developed as part of the Enterprising Science project, a five-year research and development partnership between The Science Museum Group, King’s College London and University College London to address inequalities in STEM participation. It was funded by BP.

Equity and social justice are integral to the concept of science capital, enabling and empowering everyone to access the opportunities and wonders of STEM.

By taking a science capital-informed approach we can understand and challenge inequalities, enabling us to create content that is accessible, and spaces, both physical and virtual, where everyone can feel they belong.

Science Capital and informal learning

The Science Museum Group have put an organisation-wide effort into translating the science capital research into operational realities.

We know that whilst not everyone needs to study science or take part in science-related activities, everyone should feel able to do so.

We need to recognise that many of the approaches we use can favour those who are already engaged and will exclude people who face inequalities in wider society.

Applying a science capital approach is not about giving audiences the things we think they need; it’s about valuing the things that they bring. To do this means transforming our practices and changing the environment we invite audiences into so that everyone can make meaningful connections with the science, technology, engineering and maths that shapes their lives.

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Science Capital in Practice

How does a science capital approach work in practice? Find out from science centres and museums around the UK.

The Science Museum Group Academy

Science capital and wider engagement research shapes and informs all the training delivered through the Science Museum Group Academy. Find out more about the training that we offer. Find out more about the training that we offer.

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