Join the festival party! Apply by December 2nd

Remember the last time you went to a festival that mattered to you? What it was like to share an experience with so many different people? How so much was happening at once that it felt wonderfully overwhelming? How it was somehow both creative and steeped in tradition? How it made you proud of who you are, and maybe even proud of where you are from? There was "something" about that festival that brought everyone together: a theme or concept or shared history that rallied everyone to show up and participate. Now imagine that "something" is science, and you'll have a vision of a science festival. If that vision fires you up, you may be on to something. That vision probably is not fully in focus for you yet, but we would love to hear about it. When you are ready, we will do what we can to help you make that vision reality. If you think you may be ready soon keep reading, because the Science Festival Accelerator is currently seeking applications for 12 new science festival initiatives.

  • Receive $10,000 in matching funds, plus friendly mentoring and a welcoming professional network
  • Apply by December 2, 2019
  • Decisions announced by January 6, 2020
  • Supportive professional development from January - June, 2020
  • Your new festival's first celebration will be before June 30, 2021

For more information, keep reading, and register for the Accelerator's Q&A Webinar at noon EST, October 31. ... The Science Festival Alliance welcomes new member festivals at any time of year, but thanks to the generous support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for the Science Festival Accelerator, we are pleased to offer this one-of-a-kind opportunity to get started with all of the resources you need. The Accelerator project will be supporting new science festival initiatives planned for communities with a relatively small resource base, and looking to begin with diversity, equity, access, and inclusion at the heart of their initiative. To learn more about what that means, check out the Diversity First Toolkit. The Accelerator has been active over the past year with four lead festivals (Mississippi Science Festival, Flagstaff Festival of Science, Wisconsin Science Festival, and Sitka WhaleFest) taking on challenges related to diversity, equity, access, and inclusion. These festivals have nearly 60 years of experience between them, but we all have a lot to learn! Now that their plans are forming, they are eager to share what they are learning as mentors for new festival startups. Successful applications will describe a vision for a new science festival that:

  • centers diversity, equity, access, and inclusion in its development;
  • is collaborative by design;
  • celebrates at least once before July, 2021;
  • benefits from professional development during the first half of 2020, including video conferences, phone calls, and the 2020 Science Events Summit in June;
  • reaches a meaningfully critical mass of attendees as appropriate to the community served (this ranges, but shouldn't be smaller than 2,000); and
  • serves a community with a relatively small resource base, such that a first-year budget may not exceed $60,000.

Additionally, your planned festival initiative must be associated with a non-profit organization in the US or Canada. While most science festivals are currently led by organizations with missions that prioritize science education, organizations with more general missions are also encouraged to apply, especially those that are strongly aligned with diversity, equity, access, and inclusion issues in their communities. To apply please download the following word document, fill out the questions to the best of your ability, and save it as a PDF when complete. Email completed applications to the Science Festival Alliance no later than December 2, 2019 at: ... Frequently Asked Questions:

  • When is the deadline for the Accelerator Application? The application for this funding opportunity is December 2, 2019.
  • When will I hear the results? The Science Festival Alliance’s goal is to announce the final 12 startup festivals no later than January 6, 2020.
  • What counts as a science festival for these applications? The best festivals of any kind take a collaborative and creative approach to bringing together and building community in ways that are culturally meaningful. The same goes for festivals of science. It is expected that most applicants are still establishing a vision for a festival, so there is no prescribed product that reviewers are looking for.
  • Do I have to show proof of matching funds at the time of the application? No you do not! We understand that your proposed festival is taking place in the future, and you may not have even started fundraising yet.
  • What is the maximum amount of overhead that can be charged on the (up to) $10,000 matching funds? The matching funds provided by this project cannot be subjected to overhead. Your institution may find it best to treat this funding as work-for-hire.
  • Do “in-kind” donations count towards the total of my matching funds? In-Kind donations do not count towards the total of your matching funds, nor do funds allocated by your organization. One of the reasons the Accelerator provides matching funds is to motivate your local sponsors.
  • When will we receive the $10,000? Once you have gone through the 6 month professional development period in 2020, publicly announced dates for your first festival celebration, provided proof of receipt of matching funds, and completed our invoicing process.
  • There are word limits on the application, what if I feel there’s more vital information to include? You can include extra information but there is no guarantee that the application readers will take that information into account.
  • I can’t apply this year, is there an opportunity next year to apply? This is a one-time offer and will not be available for next year.
  • How many people should I have onboard to organize this kind of event? There is no set number of people that determine the success of an event like this, but successful proposals will reference both a competent team and indicate the likelihood of broad community support.
  • Is there a link to documents online that I can download that would help me get a festival initiative started?
  • If you’re interested in getting a festival started, your first and best resources are the following Toolkits:
  • The Science Festival Accelerator Toolkit
  • Small Festivals Toolkit
  • Science Festival Alliance Membership Toolkit

Once more, the application is available for download here!