Matthew Allen, demonstrating telescope to a family

The Josh Award

The Josh Award is the UK’s national award in STEM communication, established to recognise and encourage talented practitioners who are in the early stages of their professional career, to pursue innovation and creativity in science communication and engagement.

The award provides the opportunity to further develop the winner’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) communication skills, their networks, and their awareness of the industry, with support from teams at the Science Museum Group and the BIG STEM Communicators Network.

The winner will also develop and deliver a new project or event for the Science and Industry Museum holiday programme (between 19 October and 3 November 2019 in Manchester), showcasing best practice in the field of STEM communication.

They will also have the opportunity to further use their skills by being involved in an advisory capacity in the development of the programme for Manchester Science Festival 2020.

The 2019 award is now open for applications. To apply for the award, and for more information, please see the Science and Industry Museum website.

Previous Winners

2018 – Mat Allen

Mat started communicating science during his PhD at Cardiff University, developing various VR and AR platforms to do so. His Josh Award project used tactile and interactive activities, designed to be suitable for use by people with visual impairments, to describe astrophysics.

Mat said:

“[Manchester Science Festival] was an amazing experience for me and one that I’m very proud to have been a part of… I’m even more passionate about developing resources and activities for visually impaired people than I was before, if that’s possible!

“I’ve always wanted to work on organising a science festival. I can now say that I’m leading a team of volunteers who are restarting Cardiff Science Festival! I learnt a huge amount [at Manchester Science Festival], which I’m hoping will help us shape the festival and make it a success. This is something that I’m really passionate about, so I’m very excited to see where it leads to.”

2017 – Jon Chase

In 2017, Science Rapper Jon Chase won the Josh Award. Jon Chase is a BBC Bitesize science presenter and has produced science raps for the BBC, Channel 4 learning and NASA amongst others.  He is also an author having recently co-written a book about the Science of Star Wars as well as the soon to be released Science of Harry Potter. 

His event, Hip Hop Science Stop Weekender, brought street and urban science to life with visitors getting hands-on with graffiti walls and turntables. He put on special performances for families, featuring a selection of his own raps and showcased science raps from around the globe. Visitors also learned how they could use everyday objects and waste materials such as straws, paper and string to do simple science experiments at home.

2016 – Katie Steckles

Local mathematician Dr Katie Steckles won the 2016 Josh Award and was the Science Communicator in Residence at Manchester Science Festival 2016.

Steckles turned the museum into a giant hand-made, crowd-sourced image during the Festival. Her winning application had Festival visitors helping to colour thousands of individual ‘pixels’ that would make up a picture in one of the museum’s windows representing how digital devices such as computers, tablets, and phones display images.

The project also looked at the mathematics behind how devices store images as a series of numbers that create the different colours on screen. There was also a close-up look at the pixels in your own phone’s screen and a photo booth that transforms you into an Excel spreadsheet of colour values.

2015 – Andy Miah

In 2015, Andy Miah brought a drone expo to the Museum of Science and Industry. The Revolution Manchester gallery at the museum was taken over as a fly zone for drones. People had a go at flying a drone to see how they actually fly and found out more about what drones can be used for.

Andy Miah is the chair of science communication at the University of Salford.

2014 – Sarah Bearchell

2013 – Aravind Vijayaraghavan

2011 – Matt Parker

2010 – Steve Cross

2009 – David Price

2008 – Karen Bultitude


The Josh Award 2016 press release can be downloaded here.