Science and Discovery Centres Under Threat

Science and Discovery Centres Under Threat October 22, 2007

Science and Discovery Centres, like the Science Museum in London and Techniquest in Cardif, have had a bit of a renaissance in recent years. The Millenium Commission gave big Lottery grants to 18 of them. But several have since fallen on hard times, with two closing and one (At-Bristol) recently made 45 staff redundant. Lord Sainsbury, the former Under Secretary of State for Science and Innovation, said of them that they:

were funded simply with capital by the Millennium Commission, without any revenue streams being provided and on some projections for future revenues which were extremely optimistic, bordering on fantasy, I think, in many cases. As a result of that, there have been a number which simply could not survive. There are others which are on the borderline. Because we think that it would be a huge waste of public money if these centres were allowed to disappear, we have taken action to try and provide them with funding on a transitional basis to get them to a properly funded basis; but it is hard work, while they find other sources of finance

Now the Select Committee on Science and Technology has come out in favour of long-term government support, if independent evidence can confirm that they confirm that they make a positive contribution to science education, the promotion of science-related careers and also public engagement.

Here’s hoping that they are succesful in convincing the government to change heart!

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