2 Jul 2014

Boost for scientists of the future

Life Science Centre, Newcastle has secured flagship funding of £425,000 over two years from Biffa Award to develop a new ‘one of a kind’ science laboratory experience that will allow visitors to ‘step into the shoes’ of working scientists and carry out real experiments.

Planned to open in March 2015, ‘You, the Scientist’ will see the creation of a laboratory area within the Science Centre where families, school groups and adults can explore how real science is done in in modern-day research labs, meet working scientists and assist in research projects taking place in the region’s universities and research facilities.

Biffa Award is a multi-million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to community and environmental projects across the UK. The project, which has a working title of ‘You, the Scientist’, was funded under Biffa Award’s ‘Cultural Facilities’ category and will provide a permanent exhibition area where people can engage with science.

Linda Conlon, chief executive of Life, said: “We’re thrilled to have secured Flagship funding from Biffa Award to develop this new and exciting facility for our visitors. In today’s technology-fuelled society, Science Centres have evolved to be places where visitors come to ‘do’ science rather than find out about it.  With You, the Scientist, we’re taking this a step further to make Life a place to go to ‘be’ a scientist.”

The practical activities will range from ‘gateway’ experiences, such as using microscopes and pipettes, to structured investigations where visitors follow a multi-stage set of instructions to answer a specific question.  Support for these scientists of the future will be provided by Life’s team of ‘Science Explainers’, who will teach formal workshops to schools, present family science shows and assist visitors in the exhibition.

When awarding the funding, Life Trust impressed Biffa Award with their one of a kind, innovative family attraction.

Gillian French, Biffa Award Programme Manager, said: “The Flagship Scheme is an opportunity to award funding to projects that have something unique and exciting that no other project in the region can offer. We received 38 good quality applications for the Flagship Scheme, but we are delighted for the International Centre for Life on their success. Their inspirational You, the Scientist project will create a resource that will be enjoyed by the local community as well as creating a fantastic experience for visitors.” 

For more information about the Biffa Award scheme, visit www.biffa-award.org

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