Before you start
So you want to start your own mobile science project?
Before you do, here are a few tips for getting starting:
- Identify the objective
What is the aim of the project? What are you trying to achieve? What are the hurdles/challenges? What is the scientific content and educational ethos likely to be?
- Do your homework
Is anyone doing something similar? Find potential suppliers and request quotes for everything you’re going to need, so that you can produce realistic budgets. At the same time, identify possible sponsors and partners and what their position on educational outreach activities is. You’ll have a better chance of gaining their support if what you’re planning is complementary to their aims.
- Build a good team
Take time to develop clear job descriptions and recruit good people. Ensure the team has the tools to deliver and encourage open communications. Create a steering committee for the project that can be used for governing the project as well as acting as a critical friend. Appoint committee members based on their knowledge of science education and how your project fits into the wider environment, but don’t forget that personal relationships can often be critical in obtaining funding so well connected committee members can be invaluable.
- Prepare a project plan
Your plan should include information on costs, resources (including people), timescales, risk assessments, evaluation and implementation.
- Save information
Keep a record of what’s happening in the project. Without documentation it is impossible to have baseline controls, reliable communications, or a repeatable process. Record all important agreements and decisions, along with supporting rationale, as you may need to refer back to them later.
- Be pro-active
Take the initiative and solve problems as they arise. Periodically address project risks and confront them openly. Attack problems, and leave no stone unturned!
For more detailed suggestions on these areas and others, see Setting up a project.