Futures Gallery: Engaging Audiences With Contemporary Science

Thinktank Birmingham’s award-winning science museum, and University of Birmingham are delighted to announce a new scheme offering academics the opportunity to develop content for Thinktank’s Futures Gallery.

The Futures gallery (Level 3) brings to life the huge impact science, technology and medicine have on the way we live – now and in the future. Visitors can explore the outer reaches of space, get to grips with innovative inventions and marvel at medical advancements and how they are saving lives. With interactive exhibits such as Create an Alien and RoboThespian, the Futures gallery aims to stimulate debate, explore scientific issues, and encourage us to question our place in the Universe.

Celebrating the role of Birmingham scientists in detecting gravitational waves.

Postgraduate student Hannah Middleton – “Birmingham has played a vital role in one of the biggest scientific discoveries of our lifetime!”

We are now seeking expressions of interest from University of Birmingham academics who would like to develop content linked to their research and provide audiences access to contemporary science. 

  • To develop an engaging and interactive exhibit for display in Thinktank’s Futures Gallery based on content developed by University of Birmingham researchers
  • To provide Thinktank audiences with access to contemporary science and engage with a wide and diverse range of people through the resulting exhibit
  • To support University of Birmingham academics in enhancing the quality and reach of their research
  • To promote University of Birmingham research by providing relevant platforms for engagement and impact

Indicative outcomes could include but are not limited to:

  • The development and creation of an interactive exhibition linked to University of Birmingham research to be displayed in Thinktank’s Futures Gallery
  • Opportunities to design and deliver activity which complements the exhibit
What University of Birmingham will provide:
  • A budget of £5000 for professional fees, materials and interpretation. This will be paid in two tranches to Birmingham Museums Trust – £2500 upon signing contract, and £2500 upon selection of final project
  • Promotion of the scheme to University of Birmingham’s academic community
  • Coordination of the application process – from application to selection via a cross-organisational judging panel
  • Access to development and mentoring support including Cultural Engagement and Public Engagement with Research Committee and others as required
What Birmingham Museums Trust c/o Thinktank will provide:
  • Provision of space in Thinktank’s Futures Gallery for winning University of Birmingham academics to display content linked to their research in an award-winning museum which attracts over 260,000 visitors per year
  • Commitment to sending museum representatives to take an active role in the recruitment and selection process, namely shortlisting applications and participating in a judging panel to determine the winner.
  • To deliver a museum tour for prospective applicants and to lead a session covering the exhibition development process
  • To offer some time to support the development of applications
  • To lead on support of the winning applicant(s) from research, development, design and delivery
  • To offer access to development and mentoring expertise at Thinktank
  • To broker relationships between the winning applicant and Thinktank suppliers/ networks
  • To credit the University of Birmingham’s research/ support in exhibition interpretation
Applicant specification:

The successful applicant(s) will be expected to:

  • Meaningfully engage with staff at Thinktank, external suppliers and designers and colleagues at University of Birmingham
  • Show creativity of approach and accuracy in research and content development
  • Ensure project outputs and milestones are reached on time and on budget
  • Attend regular progress meetings and provide project updates
  • Undertake project evaluation


The overall project fee of £6000 is all inclusive and will cover all materials, as well as travel and expenses.


The successful applicant(s) should:

  • Conduct scientific research at the University of Birmingham
  • Demonstrate experience of successful projects in the public realm
  • Have experience of engaging creatively with audiences
Expression of Interest:

To express your interest, please send the following all in one PDF which is no longer than 2 sides of A4:

  • A Statement of Interest which outlines your area of research and any engagement experience
  • A brief proposal
  • An estimate of the number of days you will spend working at the museum, through both research and delivery
  • Approximate costings

Deadline for EoIs: Friday 13 April 2018, 11.59pm

Museum tour: Thursday 26 April 2018, 1-5pm

Deadline for applications: Friday 1 June 2018, 11.59pm

Successful applicants will be notified by: Friday 13 July 2018, 5pm


Please submit your expression of interest, marked Thinktank Futures, to:


Selection Process:

All submissions will be reviewed and assessed by a cross-institutional panel against the following criteria:

  • The quality of the response to current research at the University
  • The project being truly collaborative, in terms of the relationship between academic, institution and museum, across disciplines and to various audiences
  • The project being well planned and organised
  • The costs presented being realistic and representing good value for money
  • The extent to which other sources of funding have been identified to support the activity
Further Information:

If you would like to take part in this scheme but have further questions, please contact Lorna Hards, Cultural Partnerships Manager (maternity cover) at: l.c.hards@bham.ac.uk

Register your interest here...

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