Scottish science centres receive funding to make STEM more accessible

Scotland’s four science centres have been given a cash boost of £2.63m to make science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) more accessible.

The grant for 2019-20, from the Scottish government, will be shared between Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, and Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen’s Science Centres.

In addition to keeping the centres open, the funding includes:

  • A schools transport subsidy, to support pupils in rural and deprived areas accessing the centres.
  • A community subsidy to support centres’ engagement with a greater diversity of people.

Announcing the funding at a visit to Glasgow Science Centre, Science Minister Richard Lochhead said: “Today’s announcement of £2.63 million will further our aim of increasing access to public science engagement events, as part of our STEM Strategy for Education and Training.

“Our science centres help make science, technology, engineering and maths accessible to a wide public audience of all ages and from all backgrounds.

“More than 690,000 visitors passed through the doors of Scotland’s four Science Centres in the calendar year 2018 alone, and this funding for 2019-20 will provide more opportunities for people from all over Scotland to get involved in science over the coming year.”

The news comes during British Science Week (March 8-17) and brings the total funding given to the attractions over the last four years to £10m.

Science, technology, engineering and maths for ‘all ages’

The Scottish government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Sheila Rowan added: “Science, technology, engineering and maths impact our everyday lives, and our science centres are great places to explore, discover and nurture skills.

“Through workshops, events and hands-on exhibitions, people of all ages can engage with STEM and learn about our world and beyond.”

Dr Stephen Breslin, Chief Executive at Glasgow Science Centre, said: “The funding provided to us by the Scottish Government enables Glasgow Science Centre to reach broad sections of society in Scotland and increase their awareness of the importance of science engagement.

“Glasgow Science Centre, with this funding now in place, will continue to position itself as a key educational organisation that inspires people to better understand the world around them.”

Aberdeen Science Centre received £287,500 of the funding. The centre’s Chief Executive, Liz Hodge, explained: “The community and travel funding elements make it possible to deliver relevant STEM focused events both in the Centre and via our outreach programmes to rural and disadvantaged communities throughout our regions.”

Two Bit Circus and a Robot Science Museum, built by robots

Elsewhere, experimental entertainment company Two Bit Circus creates immersive experiences using a fusion of technology and spectacle.

Last month, Two Bit Circus announced its Beta Night. The world’s first Micro-Amusement Park aims to showcase the latest in VR/AR gaming.

In Seoul, South Korea, plans have been unveiled for a Robot Science Museum, built by robots, as technology becomes increasingly integral in creating unique and memorable visitor experiences.

Image: Glasgow Science Centre