About British Council
The British Council was incorporated by a Royal Charter in 1940, and received a Supplementary Charter in 1992, It exists ‘To advance any purpose which is exclusively charitable and which shall promote a wider knowledge of the United Kingdom; develop a wider knowledge of the English language; encourage cultural, scientific, technological and other educational co-operation between the United Kingdom and other countries; or otherwise promote the advancement of education’. The British Council is an executive Non-Departmental Public Body, a Public Cooperation (in accounting terms), and is registered in England, Wales and Scotland as charity. It is the United Kingdom’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, and its purpose is defined as being to ‘build engagement and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people worldwide’. The Council has 7,900 staff in offices, teaching centres, libraries and information and resource centres in the UK and in 110 countries and territories worldwide. These include all Member States of the European Union. The Council promotes international scientific co-operation as a way of building long-term relationships and trust for the UK. There are two distinct recipient communities of Council programmes in science; the scientists themselves and the public. In order to reach both of these broad audiences, the council works in partnership with policymakers and scientific administrators both in the UK and in-country, on common objectives. For the scientists, the exchange of knowledge and ideas is through instruments that promote mobility of researchers and contact-making such as workshops, seminars and travel grants. For the public, exchange is through instruments that promote science communication such as public talks and debates, events and exhibitions. In recognition of the two distinct recipient communities of Council programmes in science, the framework in this sector has been organised around two strands: ‘Excellence in International Science’ aimed at the scientists, and ‘Understanding Science in Society’, aimed at the public. ‘Excellence in International Science’ sustains communications for innovation, stressing engagement and wealth creation, is targeted at scientific communities, engineers and research managers around the world. ‘Understanding Science in Society’ sustains communications about innovation, stressing cultural relevance and social well-being, is targeted at the public, policymakers and other communities of key interest.