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Curiosity: what we're looking for

This section details the key areas that your application will be judged on. Please read this carefully and make sure that your application reflects this guidance.

You can read about Round One grants to find out what grant holders did and what we learnt from it.

1. Using science to make a difference in the lives of children and young people

Through Curiosity we want to make a difference for children and young people, in line with the ways that BBC Children in Need seeks to improve children’s lives. These differences should happen by improving access to, engagement with and understanding of science.

We want to understand how your project will contribute to this vision.

You will need to explain:

  • the disadvantage the children and young people you will be working with experience and how it affects them
  • how the science activities you propose will improve the lives of those who take part, considering the disadvantage you have described and backing it up with evidence where possible
  • why the specific science-based activities you plan are well-suited to making these differences
  • how you will identify and measure the differences that you aim to make, drawing on learning from your own work or Round One Curiosity grants.

See BBC Children in Need’s guide to planning your project.

2. High-quality engagement and participation in science

Excellent projects will understand how to work with and support children and young people who experience disadvantage. In Curiosity, we want to see projects that use engaging and participatory science to improve their personal, social and emotional development. You might already use other tools to do this, like sports, arts or drama - science doesn’t have to involve a fundamentally different approach.

Science is all about discussion, debate and curiosity. It is about asking questions about the world around us and within us and exploring how to answer those questions. Participating in science activities, and asking these questions, can contribute to important changes for children and young people such as increased confidence and self-esteem, improved relationships with others, teamworking skills and, simply, a chance to have fun!

We are looking for any activity that helps children and young people explore these types of questions and experience these differences. You can take different approaches to incorporating science into your work with children and young people. How you use science will depend on what you want to achieve, the young people you’re working with and their preferences and needs.


  • Intensity matters: meaningful change requires time, so short interventions or one-off opportunities are unlikely to be funded.
  • You don’t need to be an expert: using science to support disadvantaged children and young people isn’t about sharing knowledge or knowing everything, it’s about exploring new questions and answers together and developing skills, knowledge, experience and confidence in children and young people. We also want you to feel confident that you know where to look for help if you do need it when exploring and answering children and young people’s questions.

You should think about:

  • the resources you will draw on or use, such as online resources, team members’ expertise, scientists, teachers, etc.
  • if you choose to work with a partner you’ll need to think about how you will involve them in in developing and delivering your project. Ideally, you’ll demonstrate the potential for mutual learning and sharing expertise over the lifetime of the project.

3. Addressing disadvantage

We expect projects to address issues of disadvantage affecting children and young people. We do not consider children to be disadvantaged solely because they do not have access to science activities or do not engage with science.

We define disadvantage as:

  • illness, distress, abuse or neglect
  • any kind of disability
  • behavioural or psychological difficulties
  • living in poverty or situations of deprivation.

When making an application, you need to:

  • tell us about the children and young people your project is working with
  • describe how the disadvantage they experience affects their lives
  • show that the majority of children who will benefit from your project are experiencing disadvantage
  • describe how you will reach the disadvantaged children and young people who can benefit most from the project
  • tell us how you will target the hardest to reach children and young people.

4. Including everyone

Many young people can think science isn’t for them, that it’s not relevant or it’s too hard. There can be challenges engaging girls and young people from BAME backgrounds or with a disability. Sometimes the way science is presented can increase these barriers instead of reducing them, so it’s important that your approach to science won’t inadvertently exclude anyone or put them off.

You should think about:

  • consulting with the children and young people you intend to work with to understand their existing relationship with science and reflect this in the way you communicate, plan and deliver your project
  • the potential science has to create more inclusive spaces for children and young people who are otherwise excluded from some activities.

5. Participation

We want the views and experiences of children and young people to be at the heart of your projects. We want science activities that are done with children and young people rather than done to them.

You should think about:

  • how consultation and involvement of children and young people has informed your application and how you can evidence this
  • how participation and consultation will be embedded throughout the life of the project and all aspects of delivery.

We know that there may be good reasons why some projects can only offer limited consultation. If this is the case, you will need to clearly explain why.

6. Sharing learning with others

We want to understand more about the way science activities can make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children and young people and be able to share that learning with others. Projects will be expected to engage with and support Curiosity’s learning and evaluation activities.

This will involve:

  • adapting your project design based on feedback and learning
  • attending events and supporting visits from the programme team and evaluators
  • ensuring your approach to monitoring and data collection aligns with Curiosity’s evaluation
  • sharing your learning with others.

In your application, you will need to identify a learning aim for your project and describe how you will go about achieving this aim.

You should think about:

  • ensuring your learning aim is realistic and achievable within the project lifetime and will support the development of your work
  • learning which might have wider implications for the youth sector and for informal science learning (ISL) practice with disadvantaged children and young people.

7. Large grants: developing expertise

Through Curiosity we aim to spread good practice and to build networks of organisations involved in delivering exciting science-related projects that change children’s lives. This will be an important part of our role as funders and we are interested in funding organisations that will take a proactive approach to developing and sharing their knowledge.

For larger awards, we want to know about:

  • the skills and expertise you plan to develop or strengthen over the lifetime of your grant
  • how you might share that expertise or practice with others who could benefit, such as local partners.