Science Learning+


Science Learning+ was an open call for proposals for Planning and Partnership Grants through an international partnership between the NSF and the Wellcome Trust with the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).


The aims of Science Learning+ Planning and Partnership Grants were to strengthen the research and knowledge base; bridge the practice and research gap; and/or share knowledge and experience in informal science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) experiences. Furthermore, the initiative seeks to support practice-based research which falls within or across the following priority areas: understanding learning; engagement in STEM; skills development; equity; diversity; access to informal learning settings; and measurement of outcomes.

Proposals addressed at least one priority area and included: collaborations between at least one organization in the US and one in the UK/Republic of Ireland. In addition, the proposals included a substantive research program, not solely a public engagement activity; genuine partnerships between researchers and practitioners of STEM engagement; experts from more than one STEM area; and more than one informal STEM learning location, platform, or environment. Proposers submitted a single, comprehensive proposal with two budget components, one for US activities and one for UK/Republic of Ireland activities, to NSF.

View the Science Learning+ Partnership Grants solicitation. 

There is not a current open solicitation.

Collaboration Forum

To facilitate connections across disciplines, the US and UK, and practice and research, has set up a community page:

Partnership Awards (2017)

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and UK-based Wellcome Trust have announced the funding of five new projects through the Science Learning Plus (SL+) program. The projects will help to increase understanding of how informal science learning activities affect children and young people’s enjoyment and understanding of science. All five are collaborative partnerships between organisations in the UK and the USA, and between teams with expertise in research and expertise in leading informal science learning activities.

To learn more about the newly funded projects, visit the abstracts below:

Planning Grant Awards (2014)

Funding Opportunities

Science Learning+ grants are funded in two phases:

  • Phase 1: Planning Grants (2014). Short-term Planning Grants of up to £70 000/$115,000 to enable groups of people and organisations in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and/or the US to meet with each other and develop ideas and strategies in order to develop a Phase 2 proposal. The 11 grant awardees were notified of awards in November, 2014.
  • Phase 2: The deadline for Phase 2 applications (Partnership Grants) is June 14th, 2016. This webinar may be helpful to proposers to the SL+ program as well as to reviewers.

Related Resources

Analysing the UK science education community: The contribution of Informal providers - The aim of this report is to provide an overview of the support that the informal sector provides for learning and engaging with science.

Review of Informal Science Learning - This report, commissioned by the Wellcome Trust, provides a review of the value of informal science learning to science education in the UK.

Science Learning+ Open Space Discussion - This group was created to document the Science Learning+ open space event that took place at the National Science Foundation (NSF) on May 23rd, 2014.

Science Learning Plus (SL+) Forum Resource Handout Resources shared by participants of the “Bridging the Practice­ Research Gap” forum, which took place on from July 6-­17, 2015.

Science Learning+ Site - This networking site was created during Phase 1 of SL+ in order to support applicants in finding new collaborators. The functionality of it has been replaced by the Science Learning+ Forum on