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The good news!

Science funding applications are comparatively straight forward, for anyone used to completing lengthy art funding applications then you might actually find this easier.

Science applications tend to be short, require a brief breakdown of art planned, what the message is, the scientific/data elements included and how it will be displayed. The challenge for artists can be to keep their descriptions simple so that they are easy for someone without an arts background to visualise. On a very practical level how your work will be seen and how visitors will interact with the exhibit.

Things to consider-

Science organisations want to ensure that science is communicated accurately. To ensure your content is accurate they may well ask that you have a scientist or researcher involved in your project or that you have an academic qualification that relates directly to your proposal.

There are various organisations that can help you make contact with academics and researchers, please see Organisations

More good news!- 

As part of the funding that academics and researchers receive, they are often expected to or encouraged to do public engagement. It's very possible that if you approach them then you will be helping to provide them with an easy opportunity to share their work.

They might even beware of pots of money that they can help you apply for, for example university outreach and engagement grants

Increasing the science content of your exhibit. Science funding applications can be strengthened by the inclusion of science demonstration or additional content that helps explain the science or data that has inspired the artwork. These can include simple demonstrations that a collaborating researcher might be able to help design and deliver. Some organisations, such as IOP even offer online content that can be referenced:

YouTube is also a great place to look to for science demos that can easily be recreated.

The not so good news!-

Creative funding bodies, for example the Creative Scotland Open Fund will likely view your data or science driven art exhibit as 'educational'. This means that your exhibit will have to satisfy additional criteria. Creative Scotland are happy to be approached directly about any funding applications, they offer advice about making applications and will offer feedback. 

 It is worth noting that they receive vastly more applications than they fund and that your application may be processed by people who do not have a background in your field.  They recommend that extra care is taken to ensure that your application is written in a way that it can be easily understood by someone with out a back ground relating to your specific application.

 Its also worth noting that they are happy to be approached to discuss your project in advance of applications and provide a variety of opportunities. Such as the VACMA scheme.

Please see Organisations for more info

University funding:


 Universities can be a great source of funding, there are many University funding pots dedicated to science outreach and that can include your exhibit.

 But be warned that even once funding is approved then universities can be very slow to pay out. It is not unusual to wait 6 months + to receive funding after approval. This is in part due to the way that universities pay external companies. As an individual it is possible that you will have to first become registered with them as an external contractor before they can pay you. After your first payment has been processed then you will be set up and the process should take less time for any additional funding, but will still typically take over a month.

A short list (we will be adding more!) of Scientific, academic and other suitable funding bodies:

The Elephant Trust-The Trust was set up in 1975 to make it possible for artists and those presenting their work to undertake and complete projects when frustrated by lack of funds.

Creative Edinburgh- A great source for creative opportunities, Creative Edinburgh offer all types of support to all types of creatives and is the go to place for many organisations looking to promote opportunities that they offer.

Creative Carbon Scotland- A great source for creative opportunities relating to environmental issues as well as some funding. Please see Organisations for more info

Creative Informatics- A great source for opportunities for data driven projects, funding, courses, networking and other support. Please see Organisations for more info

Creative Scotland- The go to place for many a creative within Scotland. Offering many opportunities and support for creatives and creatives projects within Scotland. They receive a high number of applicants, but will offer advice for people considering making applications and give feedback. The cultural section of Edinburgh Council, they list opportunities and you can even sign up for their opportunities newsletter, which includes regular updates for funding opportunities

IOP and IOP Scotland- IOP and IOP Scotland offer funding for public engagement, are very approachable and will host events, such as their Big Bounce event. Please see Organisations for more about what they do

Universities- Many universities will offer funding for outreach projects, this can often be accessed by creatives working with universities or by students (top tip Edinburgh university offers access to many of its vast resources to even part time students, for example evening classes). Please see Organisations for more info


VACMA- The Visual Artist and Craft Maker Award is one of the many schemes run by Creative Scotland. It is set up to support artists to develop themselves and their practice. For creatives looking to try out new pathways, such as producing data driven work then this represents a possible option for funding

Each local authority has there own dates for applications to the VACMA scheme, which can be found here:

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