Liz Hodge, Project Director at the newly-revamped Aberdeen Science Centre described the multi-million-pound transformation of the centre and the crucial role it plays in enthusing a love of all things STEM.
When work began in 2015 to bring the 2020 PCST Conference to Aberdeen, none of us imagined that it would coincide with something which is very dear to my heart, the opening of our newly redeveloped Aberdeen Science Centre.
It will be a great pleasure to welcome the delegates to the new state-of -the-art centre which reflects the key priorities of the STEM agenda for education and industry. Hosting the opening reception of the conference on the very first day that the centre reopens to the public makes this exciting milestone in the centre’s history all the more memorable.
Visitors will see what has been achieved over the past 18 months with previous visitors particularly appreciating the transformation that has taken place.
When Aberdeen Science Centre first opened as Satrosphere in 1988, it was a Scottish first. In the years since, time caught up with our old building and it became a little tired and jaded and not really fit for the purpose of being a centre of excellence which will encourage and inspire the next generation of science enthusiasts.
That said, it has retained its role as an important education resource in the North-east of Scotland for three decades and its ethos of interactive science discovery is still a cornerstone of everything it does today.
The multi-million-pound redevelopment and revitalisation of the Tramsheds has not only given the old building a much-needed facelift but has enabled the expansion of the exhibition and corporate space. The renovation includes an extension and the creation of a new mezzanine floor which has almost doubled the previous exhibition space.
The £4.7million redevelopment was made possible thanks to the support and funding which came from the Inspiring Science Fund – a partnership between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), UK Research and Innovation and Wellcome – Opportunity North East (ONE) and Aberdeen City Council.
As it’s not just the fabric of the building which has been rejuvenated, Aberdeen Science Centre secured a further £1.5 million, ensuring it relaunches with, and sustains, an eclectic and exciting range of new exhibits and interactive experiences complemented by a diverse programme of events and activities which will inspire, enthuse and encourage a passion for science in visitors of all ages. All designed and delivered to enhance the overall experience for visitors.
Based as it is in North-east Scotland, meaningful engagement opportunities with the region’s economic priority areas of Energy, Life Sciences, Food & Nutrition and Digital Technology is central to reinforce the relevance of STEM in the life and work of people living in and visiting this region. These four priority areas, together with space, form the basis of our static exhibit area on the ground floor with engineering and maths experiences occupying areas of the upper exhibition floor. It is crucial industry and academia engagement continues. The support they provide helps Aberdeen Science Centre realise its ambition to access new and exciting interactive exhibits and develop relevant, up to date and STEM accurate programmes. This will enable the Centre to continue in its aim of combining learning with play to instil passion and enthusiasm for STEM in its visitors.
Time, Technology and Transformation is the theme of this year’s PCST conference which reflects Aberdeen’s own story and now the story of its trail-blazing science centre. Enjoy your visit!