Private sector led economic development body Opportunity North East (ONE) and The Wood Foundation have helped to secure the £4.7 million redevelopment of Aberdeen Science Centre to create a focal point in the region for young people to engage with science.
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.
ONE aims to strengthen and diversify the region’s economy to achieve long term economic renaissance through catalytic projects across the key sectors of digital and entrepreneurship; food, drink and agriculture; life sciences; oil and gas; and tourism. STEM skills already comprise a significant part of the region’s skills base and will be critical to the success of these sectors in the long term as digital innovation and technology drive growth.
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,” said Sir Ian.
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.”
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 has secured the funding that will transform the Centre into a state of the art facility.
Aberdeen City Council has agreed to contribute up to £1million to the project as it continues its long-standing support of the Centre. Councillor Douglas Lumsden, co-leader of Aberdeen City Council and convener of the Finance, Policy and Resources Committee, said: “The funding 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 attractions and one which attracts 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,” said Councillor Lumsden.
The redevelopment aims to 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 Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.