Inspiring Science Fund: projects we've funded

These are the science centres we supported through the Inspiring Science Fund.

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2017

Catayst Science and Discovery Centre

Catalyst for a future generation

£754,600

We want to enhance the social value of the centre and use informal science learning to attract and meet the needs of under-represented audiences. We will target those experiencing mental health difficulties using ground-breaking research and partnerships with Liverpool John Moores University and Mind. We will also target adults who are isolated and have physical difficulties or dementia, and socio-economically deprived schoolchildren so we can inspire a new generation of scientists.

A new community outreach post will promote and coordinate community engagement. We will create a performance space in our renovated theatre, facilitating public ‘whizz-bang’ science shows, community group meetings and STEAM performances. We will also create a hands-on gallery for intergenerational learning where visitors can engage in an open-ended way. We will renew our education studios and create an exciting entrance/café/ shop space that allows free public access to taster exhibits, conferences, community events and pop-up exhibitions.

Dundee Science Centre

CONNECT: Connecting our roots and growing new shoots

£1,455,440

CONNECT will transform our centre into a trusted community hub which is accessible for people from all backgrounds and cultures. It will bring people together using science engagement as a source of inspiration, learning and development, and integrating informal science learning with community education and academia.

We will upgrade our facilities to make an inspiring foyer, an interactive STEM exhibition, auditorium and gathering place. We will implement interlinked learning and engagement programmes to revitalise the centre to enable us to better engage underserved and under-represented people, including early years children and families living in areas of high deprivation.

We want to make inclusion and diversity part of our core function, aiming for wider access in everything we do and inspiring others to do the same. We want to improve our position in the local cultural economy and wider learning sectors and solidify the value placed on science centres in society.

Eureka!

Eureka! Mersey (working title)

£3,000,000

Eureka! Mersey will be a new visitor destination for families in the heart of the Liverpool City Region. We will reinvent the existing Spaceport attraction at Seacombe ferry terminal in Wirral and this development will act as a powerful catalyst for regeneration of a docklands area which has suffered decline and deprivation for many years.

Eureka! Mersey will be neither a traditional children’s museum, nor a traditional science centre. It will break the mould, forging its identity through the consultation process. It will create a children’s community of creative scientists and engineers, actively engaged and contributing to real-world practice.

We want to create a bright, colourful facility with spaces that are immersive, contextualised, hands-on multisensory, inclusive and intuitive. They will be designed through an equal two-way exchange between us and young people aged 8-14 allowing them to become co-creators and helping them discover the science happening on their doorsteps.

Glasgow Science Centre

Connect

£2,876,401

Connect will bring greater inclusion and diversity into our strategy, practices and actions. It will make it easier for people to engage with us by capitalising on our strengths and enabling us to better respond to the learning needs of Glasgow's diverse population.

We will create an enhanced needs-led community learning and development engagement programme, serving diverse communities in the city. We will create an ongoing programme of inclusive cultural science events that will attract the broader population, and we will become a welcoming and relevant community and civic outdoor space. New exhibits will promote our philosophy for accessible science communication, creating a continuum of experience in the community, the public realm, reception areas and the Explore! Gallery.

Connect will challenge entrenched thinking, shift perceptions and help catalyse change. We will be a vital community hub and a powerful advocate for personal advancement and scientific enterprise.

Techniquest

The Science Capital

£3,000,000

We will connect communities with STEM through a range of co-produced exhibitions and programmes that demonstrate the relevance of science to the world around them. We will collaborate with local communities, Welsh STEM innovators and academics to produce innovative content.

The project will be a catalyst for cultural change as it enables us to reach new audiences. Made in collaboration with many stakeholders, it will place communities at the very heart of the transformation.

The new development will provide an additional 73% exhibition space. Visitor numbers to increase by at least 40% within five years because of the new content, designed by and for the community. This project will allow us to create organisational and social change and it will ensure Wales’ capital city retains its science and discovery centre. The co-designed space will enable communities to pursue their own interests while contributing to the STEM agenda.

National Space Centre

Extended Reality for New Audiences

£1,880,000

We will engage young people from disadvantaged communities in Leicester who have had neither the opportunity nor confidence to take part in current STEM programmes. We will target their interest in gaming, design and social media, starting with community-based sessions and progressing to on-site programmes in an extended reality laboratory at our new creative academy.

Participants will help create content for a new Space Mission Simulation Facility which will have two workshop spaces: Launch/Mission Control and Space Station. They will also establish a comprehensive outreach programme for their communities. A bursary programme will allow growth elsewhere in Leicester, the East Midlands and the rest of the UK.

This project will help us balance our national growth with a renewed local focus in collaboration with the University of Leicester’s unit for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement (DICE), Leicester City Council Neighbourhood Services Team and Leicester College.

2016

Aberdeen Science Centre

A Lifetime with Science

£2,999,700

Aberdeen Science Centre’s (ASC) mission has always been to inspire, educate and enthuse people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities in science, technology, engineering and maths in an informal learning environment. ASC has more than 50,000 visitors each year and its core programmes are delivered to school groups, teachers, members of the public and community groups both in the centre and on outreach to areas included in the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation. 

This project will transform the Aberdeen Science Centre into an accessible hub for learning and discovery, inspired by life-long journeys with science, using play, education, daily life, and engagement with topical issues. We will reinvigorate the centre’s outreach and community programme targeting under-served, geographically dispersed groups. 

We The Curious

Curious City

£3,000,000

Image of the new exhibition area to be built at the At-Bristol Science Centre

We The Curious has a culture of curiosity which it strives to achieve through a range of multidisciplinary, engaging experiences. Curious City will be a participative exhibition/experience driven by questions about science from the people of Bristol. We The Curious is reaching out to under-represented people across the city to gather questions that will be used to determine the focus of seven exhibition/experiences. This direct involvement in the creation of the exhibition is designed to encourage more visitors from under-represented audiences.

The foyer, shop and café will be changed to create a more welcoming drop-in space. There will be an Open City Lab where university researchers work with audiences on contemporary science questions, a Theatre of Curiosity where visitors can ask and explore questions, and an online digital question space. Curious City embodies the centre's commitment to a more participatory, multidisciplinary approach to creating a culture of curiosity.

International Centre for Life

Creative Explorations

£2,592,235

Image of the new space themed exhibition to be built at the International Centre for Life in Newcastle

The International Centre for Life is a science village in Newcastle upon Tyne that combines research, medicine, business, ethics, education and public engagement. Its aim is to ignite and nurture a curiosity in everyone for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and to encourage the next generation of STEM professionals. It also aims to make a positive economic, social and cultural contribution to north-east England. 

Creative Explorations comprises a new space-themed exhibition and a makerspace, designed to be both attractive and inclusive, that can be displayed in the science centre and at community venues and events in north-east England. Alongside this we will have a more targeted community programme to trial three different modes of engagement: an exhibition advisory group of teenagers with autism spectrum disorders (in partnership with North East Autism Society), programmes for young people in the care system (in partnership with Newcastle Gateshead Cultural Venues consortium) and contributing to the foundation of a new Children’s Community in the west of Newcastle (in partnership with the West End Schools Trust).
 
To ensure the success of these exhibitions and our move to greater inclusivity, an internal review will identify our strengths and weaknesses and help to set our direction for the next decade.

Thinktank

miniBrum

£1,411,150

Image of the new interactive gallery to be built at the Birmingham Science Museum

Thinktank at the Birmingham Science Museum is the only science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) engagement centre in the West Midlands. It provides a unique, informal and fun environment where visitors of all ages can learn about scientific discoveries, how science is applied, and how scientific developments change the way we live.  

miniBrum will create a new permanent interactive gallery and education programme delivering STEM learning for the under eights. We will create a dynamic learning platform that meets specific developmental needs of younger children through integrated learning experiences promoting emotional, intellectual and physical wellbeing. 

miniBrum will consist of a child-sized mini city where children and families can safely explore, play and learn. We will work closely with children, families and teachers from Birmingham’s communities in a co-production that develops the nature and content of the gallery. 

W5

AMAZE!

£3,000,000

Photo of the W5 building in Belfast

W5 (whowhatwherewhenwhy) is an interactive science and discovery centre in Belfast. It houses over 250 hands-on exhibits in four main exhibition areas and offers a changing programme of events, science demonstrations, shows and temporary exhibitions throughout the year. 

We need to change our strategic approach to better engage with our audiences. We aim to create a critical mass of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) engagement through multiple, joined-up informal learning opportunities rather than one-off events. We will increase touchpoints in W5 and the wider community linking education and public engagement. We will create new themed exhibition areas and experiences which will be immersive and memorable, where visitors can become fully absorbed and engaged. We will also develop a new approach to how we use technology, enabling us to create dynamic content and present information in new and unusual ways.