Informal science learning

Informal learning experiences – like visiting museums, meeting scientists, watching YouTube videos and playing games – offer huge potential for young people to engage with and learn about science in a way that works for them.

Why it’s important

All young people deserve to be inspired by science and to see its relevance to them. This should include many opportunities to learn about science in informal settings, particularly given that young people spend up to 80 per cent of their time outside of school. 

Our research shows that informal science learning may be particularly beneficial for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, who are more likely to find science subjects challenging and unengaging at school. 

What we’re doing

Supporting the youth sector

We want to help give young people from disadvantaged backgrounds more opportunities to engage with and take part in science activities outside of school.

Read about our work with the youth sector.

Science Learning+ 

In 2014, we launched the Science Learning+ initiative in partnership with the National Science Foundation and the Economic and Social Research Council

The initiative explored the impact of informal science learning and encouraged science engagement practitioners and researchers to collaborate. 

Find out more about the Science Learning+ projects we funded.

National Forum for Public Engagement in STEM

In 2014, we established the National Forum for Public Engagement in STEM. It helps key funders and organisations involved in public engagement in science to work together strategically.

More information

Contact us

If you have any questions, contact Mat Hickman

More from the team

Science education is one of our priority areas. Find out more about what we're doing to inspire teachers and students.

Sign up to the Education and Learning newsletter

We’ll send you education resources and the latest policy news twice a term.

Read previous newsletters.

Thank you. If this is the first time you have subscribed to a newsletter from Wellcome, you will receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription.

Education resources

We produce and fund a wide range of educational resources for teachers