Yay! News from the lovely folks at NESTA this morning: they’re willing to half-fund my project and help me find an industrial partner to cough up the remainder (which looks like it’s going to be the new NESTA way). So… that’s 50% of a really massive cheer from me.

Thus far I’ve avoided describing the project here, but on the off-chance that anyone reading this might be interested in being that industrial partner (heck, I think two of you were quoted in the Guardian yesterday, you must be big fish [cough]): there’s a big hole in the UK for seeking to inspire children towards science via entertainment, specifically video entertainment. I’m of the generation that was inspired by Johnny Ball, and more recently I’ve been trying to continue that tradition via my own shows on ITV.

However, in 2004 the BBC cancelled all their children’s science programmes, and ITV cancelled one of theirs (/mine). In itself that was fine, however they’ve not been replaced. Now, in 2006, there’s very very little of that sort of inspirational material for children on what’s still the biggest single medium – TV.

I can’t solve the TV issue. But I can provide the same sort of material, far more cost-effectively, so at least it’s out there for kids to find.

Yes, I want to jump on the podcast video bandwagon. And you know, it’s actually a better medium for science content than television is.

Our plan is to make short films inspired by practical science, and to back them up with step-by-step instructions, clear explanations, onward links, and the dreaded curriculum links for teachers. Then there’s a whole film-making aspect to the project – we’ll head out into schools and science centres to run video workshops, and ultimately we want to run a national competition for science-inspired short films.

There are several other aspects – notably that all material from the pilot is CC-licensed, which is why I was interested in the issues around getting under-16s to sign legal documents – but that’s the main thrust of it.

Anyone want a slice of that? It’s up for grabs, and thanks to NESTA coughing up a wodge of cash it’s really not very expensive. Unless you want it to be huge, in which case I can spend as much as you’re willing to spend!

Drop me a line to jonathan[at]quernstone.com.

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