Written on 22 Sep 2011 in Press Release
Cambridge UK, 22 September 2011: Plans for the creation of the Cambridge Science Centre, a new space to increase public engagement with science and drive educational outreach, took a major step forward today with the appointment of Dr. Goéry Delacôte as Chairman of the Advisory Council.
Dr. Delacôte is the chief executive officer of @Bristol, a leading science centre in the United Kingdom, a role he will continue alongside the chairmanship. Dr. Delacôte has significant experience in creating and developing world-class science-focused destinations in Europe and the United States, including setting up Exploradôme in Paris and spending 15 years as the head of the famed Exploratorium in San Francisco.
The first public event by the Cambridge Science Centre team is the Science Xchange day, part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, on 23 October 2011 at Cambridge’s Guildhall. Sponsored by Microsoft Research Ltd and Carl Zeiss UK amongst other partners, Science Xchange aims to provide a one-day interactive science centre experience for Cambridge residents and visitors. The event will include the largest publicly-built chain reaction in England, a science influenced art gallery, hands-on activities, a coffee science corner and guest speakers from a variety of science and arts-related backgrounds.
Cambridge is known globally as an important centre for learning and for its many contributions to scientific progress. Around 4 million people visit Cambridge annually to experience its rich cultural heritage. However while Cambridge currently supports several excellent museums it has no centre focused primarily on hands-on public engagement with the sciences. The Cambridge Science Centre, an initiative founded this year by Dr. Chris Lennard and Dr. Katia Smith-Litière, aims to change this. With the ability to provide year round hands-on activities, showcase the rich scientific history of Cambridge and relate that to current active technology and science research and development, the Cambridge Science Centre will provide a much-needed location for visitors and locals alike to learn more about scientific discoveries from the city and how they affect their daily lives.
“When people think of scientific discovery in the United Kingdom, Cambridge comes top of the list. However it needs a central place for interactive public science,” said Dr. Goéry Delacôte, CEO of At Bristol. “To be successful in today’s market, a science centre needs to be innovative in combining an on-site and on-line presence. I believe Chris and Katia have what it takes to make this happen and I’m looking forward to helping make this project a successful reality.”
Coupled with its exhibits, the Cambridge Science Centre will offer an educational outreach programme to provide local schools and teachers with critical teaching materials and an emphasis on hands-on learning to allow children to explore scientific concepts in safe and familiar environments.
Since the start of 2011, the management team of the Cambridge Science Centre have been actively building a support network within the research, arts and design, and educational communities. The Cambridge Science Centre also secured funding for the Science Xchange event showing corporate interest in the initiative. The management team are working to secure £250,000 to cover the 2012 operational budget. This includes development of an interactive web presence and content development in support of Cambridge Science Centre programmes, funding for a small team with offices and infrastructure, marketing and design, and an independent 3rd-party market study into the feasibility of a science centre for Cambridge. Making use of strong local enterprise networks such as the Cambridge Network to assist in kicking off these commercial discussions is key to the next stage of development for the centre.
“Cambridge has a world class ecosystem for innovation in the sciences, with not only the number one university in the world but also our very successful entrepreneurs and businesses”, said Claire Ruskin, CEO of the Cambridge Network. “We want to showcase this vibrant side of Cambridge and get the next generation to want to be part of it, inventing and creating more for the next century. The founders of the Cambridge Science Centre together with their supporters are making real progress towards this goal.”
The Advisory Council for the Cambridge Science Centre will help guide the development of programmes and operations during the early stages of corporate growth. The full council is currently being recruited from leading industry, education, policy and research figures.
“Cambridge science has a great story to tell everyone, whether they are part of the local community, school children or tourists. It can show how science is both part of society’s day-to-day life and the foundation of product and career innovation,” said Dr. Chris Lennard, Founder of the Cambridge Science Centre. “Dr. Delacôte has a fantastic track-record in science centre development and we are thrilled to have someone with this level of experience chair our Advisory Council as we move forward.”
About the Cambridge Science Centre: The Cambridge Science Centre is an exhibits based organisation helping to develop year round public access to interactive science and science-oriented arts. The organisation is working towards establishing a permanent public science centre in central Cambridge England. To find out more on programmes and events visit: www.cambridgesciencecentre.org or follow us on Twitter (@camsciencecntr)