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Expert Profile


Ian Simmons





Full or Part-time

Position Type:

Southend on Sea

United Kingdom

Years in the field:

26+ Years

Areas of Expertise

Development/Sponsorship/Institutional Advancement, Events, Exhibits development, Explainer/guide, Grants/Foundational Giving, Guest/Visitor Services, Senior Leadership, Operations, Outreach and Public Engagement, Partnerships, Project Management, Professional Development, Strategic Planning, Other


January 2017 – Present – Consultant, Science Centres International

Role - I have set up Science Centres International as a vehicle for providing consultancy to science centres, museums and other science communication and heritage organisations on areas such as strategic planning, fundraising, events, exhibition, building and other capital project development. Clients include:

• The Francis Crick Institute – project managing the development and delivery of The Crick’s Outwitting Cancer exhibition.

• The Wellcome Trust – developing and delivering an evaluation strategy for the Wellcome/ Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Inspiring Science Capital Fund in partnership with Graphic Science

• Body Worlds – Consulting on the development of a new central London attraction

• The Royal Dublin Society – Identifying and organising show performers for the 2019 Primary Science Fair

• Udaipur Kids Space, India – Consulting on building design

• Centre for Life – Identifying and booking headline artists and presenters for Maker Faire UK

• The Eden Project – advising on Invisible Worlds exhibition and associated programme

• Twig Education – writing education materials across the sciences for use by US schools


September 2006 – December 2016 – Science Communications Director, International Centre for Life, Newcastle

Role – As Science Communication Director I was responsible for any activity at The Centre for Life that presented science to the public or educational groups. I was responsible for the Public Engagement, Education and Exhibitions Teams. All the touring exhibitions, programmes in the theatre, the planetarium and the 4D motion ride were my responsibility, as well as any science activities undertaken by staff on the public gallery, special events, festivals, and outreach


September 2003 – September 2006 - Operations and Marketing Director/Head of Fundraising, Techniquest, Cardiff

Role – I was a director with responsibility for Techniquest’s marketing, buildings and visitor services. Initially this was limited to operating the front of house Teams, but was later extended to responsibility for exhibition content, exhibit maintenance and public programmes. I managed the corporate hire programme and was responsible for negotiating all operating contracts for the centre, including catering, cleaning, lift maintenance and similar as well as maintaining the fabric of the converted historic building in which it was housed. In my final 6 months at the centre I was responsible for setting up and running Techniquest’s fundraising team


May 1995-August 2003 - Director, INSPIRE Hands-on Science Centre, Norwich (Part of Science Projects)

Role – I started Inspire from scratch. I saw the opportunity to set up a science centre in Norwich and wanted to use what I had learned at Snibston to do this. I found a suitable building (the vacant city centre church of St Michael at Coslany), negotiated for its lease and obtained the backing of Science Projects to provide the exhibits and make the centre part of their developing network (along with The Observatory in Sussex). I developed the exhibit content, organised the set up and install, staff recruiting and operating procedures, launch marketing and development of educational links, opening the Centre in August 1995. From August 1995 to August 2003 I acted as Centre Director, managing 4 staff and a team of volunteers to allow the centre to operate. I was also responsible for the centre’s financial management, marketing and PR, fundraising, education and community links. Inspire operated largely independently of Science Projects, but I did assist other parts of the charity on consultancy, education and exhibit development projects, and acted as fundraiser for the whole organisation.


September1988-May 1995 - Assistant Keeper, Science, Snibston Discovery Park, Leicestershire Museums

Role – As Assistant Keeper I had specific responsibility for the development and operation of the hands-on science exhibits and science playground, as well as managing the science collection and participating in the development of the collection galleries.



Memberships - I am a member of The British Interactive Group and a fellow of the Museums Association

Association of Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC) - I served for 3 years as a board member of the Association of Science and Discovery Centres ( ). I also served on the founding board of its predecessor body Ecsite-UK.

British Interactive Group –. I was one of the group of science centre and museum professionals who founded this group in 1992 and was a committee member for most of the period 1992-2002, holding a variety of posts, culminating in the position of Vice-Chair

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