In June 2011 the Wellcome Trust issued an invitation to tender for a review to characterise the value of informal science learning to science education in the UK. Focusing on children and young people aged up to 19, the study sought to provide:
a better understanding of the scope of informal science learning, its theoretical base and the types of change it can bring about in the understanding of and attitudes towards science
recommendations for robust methods for evaluating the impact of informal science learning, based on an analysis of practice in the field
recommendations on reaching deprived learners, schools and families
recommendations based on best practice in linking informal and formal learning.
The invitation to tender led to two separate but interlinked commissions: one based in the UK (delivered by GHK Consulting in collaboration with Brand Driver Ltd and Red Kite Advice and Consulting Ltd) and the second in the USA (delivered by a partnership
of Stanford University and Oregon State University). Both teams worked closely to develop the study methodology and research tools, and data from fieldwork in the UK was shared with colleagues in the USA. Both teams also came together for a series of stakeholder events in the UK, which offered the opportunity to discuss progress and emerging findings.