Techniquest has secured £3m of funding to make science more accessible to the people of Wales.
Awarded through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Wellcome Trust’s Inspiring Science Fund, the funding means that Wales’ much-loved educational charity can move forward with its plans to radically transform its science discovery centre in Cardiff Bay.
Earlier this year, Techniquest announced plans for The Science Capital — a project which encompasses an extension of its building on Stuart Street and a repositioning exercise to extend and diversify its audiences.
Along with the new funding, the charity has match funding from Moondance Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Welsh Government’s ‘Invest to Save’ fund, and Proton Partners International, meaning it now has the capital to move full steam ahead with this exciting project.
Plans will shortly be submitted for the proposed extension, which will significantly increase Techniquest’s footprint.
The expansion will provide an additional exhibition space to house brand new content, which will be developed with businesses and academics at the forefront of the STEM agenda in Wales and supported by a programme of community co-production.
The new immersive and innovative exhibition areas and experiences will help Techniquest to diversify its audiences and increase visitor numbers by at least 40%.
Lesley Kirkpatrick, CEO of Techniquest said: “We are over the moon to be awarded this funding and are grateful to BEIS and Wellcome for believing in our ambitions. It is the culmination of over a year and a half of hard work from our talented team, who are extremely passionate about this next phase in our evolution.
“It means that our plans to expand our science discovery centre and extend our offering to make science accessible to all, can progress in earnest giving our charity a new lease of life, while ensuring a sustainable and long-term future in Wales.
“We’re extremely excited about turning our exciting plans into a reality.”
Science Minister Sam Gyimah said: “We want to bring the wonders of science to as wide an audience as possible and that’s why it is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy. Today’s investment will help inspire people from across the country to learn about the truly amazing benefits that science and technology has on all our lives.”
Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: “Today’s funding announcement is a welcome boost to many science centres across the UK, and I can’t think of a more worthy recipient than Techniquest in Cardiff Bay.
“The centre is home to many fond memories of children and adults in South Wales and further afield, who were perhaps taking an interest in science and technology for the first time. This funding will allow Techniquest to leap forward in developing cutting edge STEM technology, attracting some of Wales’ sharpest science minds to take a lead role in developing our future society.”
Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Mark Drakeford said: “Techniquest plays an important role in promoting science amongst young people in Wales and I am pleased that the Welsh Government has been able to support the Science Capital project through our Invest To Save Fund.”
Taking its project name from a concept conceived by academics at Kings College London, which is a measure of people’s engagement or relationship with science, through The Science Capital Techniquest is committed to creating society that is equipped to understand, question, and enjoy science.
Lesley continued: “At Techniquest, we want to grow people’s science capital by highlighting the role science plays in our everyday lives and demonstrating how STEM and innovative technologies are shaping the future of our society.
“By growing science capital in individuals and the communities of Wales, we can help more people to see science as an important part of their lives and culture, which will help broaden opportunities and access for STEM-related jobs in the future and in turn boost the Welsh economy.”