Aberdeen City Council places great value on partnership working and the recent announcement regarding the future of the Aberdeen Science Centre is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when organisations work together to achieve a common goal.
A £4.7million redevelopment of one of the city’s most popular attractions is moving forward thanks to an innovative funding package, which includes up to £1m pledged by the Council.
The remainder will come from the Inspiring Science Fund – which is a partnership between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Wellcome – and Opportunity North East (ONE), the Wood Foundation and Scottish Enterprise.
All of these organisations have seen the value in investing in a facility which is fun, engaging and a real asset to the north-east as a whole. The revamp will take the centre to a whole new level and promises to build on the fantastic work which has already been done to bring Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) to life for young people with a passion for those subjects.
The funding announcement coincided with Offshore Europe and whilst at the AECC through the course of that week I heard at first-hand the importance of fostering the next generation of STEM specialists. Aberdeen is world renowned for its expertise in these areas, built up around the evolution of the energy industry, and there’s a real determination not to let go of that reputation for excellence.
During Offshore Europe, leading figures in the oil and gas industry were at pains to stress to me the value they see in promoting STEM subjects from an early age – and Aberdeen Science Centre will have a central role in that, helping to make science more accessible than ever before.
That theme carries through to the city’s schools, where the Council is very conscious of its responsibility to promote and innovate in STEM – with a commitment to ensuring a focus on supporting pupils excel in STEM subjects included in the administration’s policy statement which was approved by councillors in August.
There remain challenges, most notably in the recruitment of teachers, but those will be faced head on and will not alter the goals we set in this area.
The vision for the future of the centre is an ambitious one and as a parent, as well as someone with a professional background in STEM, I’m eagerly anticipating the completion of the new look Aberdeen Science Centre. It is another exciting part of the evolution of Aberdeen as a vibrant city for residents and visitors alike.
Cllr Douglas Lumsden