Evaluation of the impact of science centres and museums is a growing field of study, because of trends such as increasing competition and financial pressure, demands for greater public accountability and transparency, and government policies that require public institutions to demonstrate their achievements in a variety of areas. As part of this growing focus on impact evaluation, the Association of Science-Technology Centres and a number of individual science centres have jointly funded an international study of the impact of science centres on their local communities.
Phase 1 of this study, in 2001–02, resulted in an annotated bibliography of 180 items relating to impact evaluation, and produced a model which divides the impacts of science centres on their communities into four categories: personal impact, societal impact, political impact and economic impact.
This report describes Phase 2 of the international study, focusing on the economic impacts of science centres on their local communities. Project objectives for this phase were to:
collect and collate financial and other data from science centres round the world, in order to develop a set of baseline data depicting the economic activity of science centres in the regions covered by the science centre network organisations supporting the project: ASPAC, ASTC, ASTEN, CASC, ECSITE and ECSITE-UK, NCSM, Red-POP and SAASTEC1;
prepare a summary of what an economic impact study involves, and of the types of information that need to be gathered in the course of an economic impact study focusing on a science centre;
present a small number of ‘case study’ descriptions to illustrate projects that have already been carried out by science centres, museums and similar institutions to explore their economic impact on their communities;
develop a brief ‘how to’ guide for a science centre wishing to carry out or commission its own economic impact study.
public engagementmutual learningcitizen scienceco-creationinclusionscientific impactinterdisciplinaritysocial valuemotivation for engagementmethodologyresults sharingunpredictable group dynamicsemotional aspects