Aberdeen Science Centre secures £4.7million funding boost
Funding totalling £4.7million has been confirmed today to radically transform Aberdeen Science Centre. The funding will revitalise and refresh the city’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) hub and lead to the creation of a state of the art facility in Aberdeen.
Aberdeen City Council has agreed to contribute up to £1million of the project costs as the Council continues its long-standing support of the centre.
Liz Hodge, Aberdeen Science Centre Chief Executive, said: “This funding is a vital boost for North Scotland. This funding will almost double the size of the Centre and play a pivotal role in creating a new, exciting and stimulating environment enabling our team to significantly increase the reach of STEM related education programmes, exhibits, events, clubs and activities. While the next generation are a priority audience for the Centre, our aim is to engage everyone in science and inspire people of all ages, backgrounds and interests to get excited about the fascinating world of STEM.
"It is with thanks to the support of and funding from The Inspiring Science Fund – a partnership between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Wellcome –Opportunity North East (ONE) and The Wood Foundation, Aberdeen City Council and Scottish Enterprise, that Aberdeen Science Centre has secured the necessary funding that will transform the Centre into a state of the art facility the people of this area can be proud of."
Part of the funding for the redevelopment has been jointly awarded by BEIS and Wellcome as part of their Inspiring Science Fund. This is a fund that is to be shared between five different science centres across the UK to encourage new and different ideas and help to make science more accessible. Aberdeen Science Centre is the only Scottish recipient within round one of the funding announcements.
Cllr Douglas Lumsden, co-leader of Aberdeen City Council and convener of the Finance, Policy and Resources committee, said: “The funding we have agreed represents a significant commitment from the Council to the long term plans for the Aberdeen Science Centre and we are proud to be providing this support and playing our part.
“Aberdeen’s young people are the lifeblood of the city and facilities such as the Aberdeen Science Centre play a valuable role in encouraging the next generation to embrace STEM in an engaging and stimulating environment. The centre also attracts visitors from near and far, a well-established part of a growing list of visitor attractions and one which welcomes tens of thousands of people each year.
“The vision for the future of the centre is ambitious and it is another exciting development to look forward to.”
Private sector led economic development body Opportunity North East (ONE) and The Wood Foundation have committed up to £700,000 to the project.
Sir Ian Wood, Chairman of ONE, said: “Innovation and STEM skills are essential for the future of our economy and the growth of our key industry sectors. Aberdeen Science Centre (ASC) is a major asset for the region, particularly in engaging young people in science and technology and inspiring them to develop STEM skills and careers in this region. We must achieve the shared vision of an economic renaissance built around a diversified and resilient economic base with innovation at its heart for the good of future generations.
“ONE has worked with ASC on the development of the business case and the funding bid for this ambitious project and the collaborative approach taken to this opportunity has secured significant funds from outside the region. The Science Centre will inspire people of all ages to engage with science and related careers, and realise long-term benefits for our region, its people and economy.”
The redevelopment aims to be complete by autumn 2019 and, as well as presenting a new STEM environment to explore, offers a perfect platform for businesses, academia and government to work collaboratively to further support the delivery of the STEM agenda in the north-east.