Techniquest submits plans for Science Capital project

By Raspberry Jim,

Techniquest has submitted a planning application for its £5.7m Science Capital project, which will see the radical transformation and expansion of its science discovery centre in Cardiff Bay.

Planning has been submitted to extend the educational charity’s current building on Stuart Street to create an additional 900m2 of exhibition floor space.

The scheme, designed by local architecture practice HLM, will significantly increase Techniquest’s footprint providing an additional 60% exhibition space to house brand new innovative content related to, and developed with, Welsh STEM innovators, academics and communities.

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: “Since securing funding, it has been full steam ahead in our Science Capital project. We’ve been working closely with our consultants to marry up our objectives, with the space we have available, and our ultimate goal of ensuring the charity has a sustainable and long-term future in Wales.

“We’re delighted with the final plans, which are contemporary, inclusive, flexible and eye-catching. Gaining planning consent is naturally a crucial factor in the future of this project so we’re hopeful for a positive result.”

As well as creating a new vibrant public entrance, the plans include a designated community space overlooking the Bay, a new café and shop, in addition to a roof terrace and courtyard designed to host interactive artworks and features to complement exhibitions.

Patrick Arends, leisure and culture sector lead at HLM said: “Techniquest has been providing inspiring scientific education for over 30 years and the new extension will reflect this with a contemporary design that will showcase this unique and much-loved facility in Cardiff.  The Cardiff HLM studio has been working closely with the project team, drawing on its extensive experience in designing top class educational and leisure spaces, to create a vibrant space that is flexible, active and relevant.”

The scheme is being project managed by Lee Wakemans who are working alongside HLM (architects), Hydrock (project engineers) and Wardell Armstrong (planning consultant).

Paul Wong, Director at Lee Wakemans said: “Techniquest is on a marvellous journey of renewal looking to reach a much wider audience. We feel privileged to play our part in helping to translate what the client is seeking to achieve, into an exciting design which will get built and ready for summer 2020. It’s great to have reached this milestone of submitting the planning application and we’re grateful to all team members who have helped us reach this point.”

Subject to planning permission being granted, it is anticipated that work on the extension will commence in Spring 2019, with the new space being open to the public by Summer 2020.

After dark science returns to Techniquest with brand-new events line-up

By Raspberry Jim,

 

Techniquest’s exciting After Hours events are making an “unforgettable” return to Cardiff with time travelling fun and a live escape room set to thrill visitors.

The popular over 18s events, which allow visitors to explore the science centre at night, are making a comeback in October with an exciting line-up of evenings already announced.

On October 17, After Hours will return by delving into the futuristic world of science and technology with its highly anticipated After Hours: Into the Future night.

The evening will immerse visitors in emerging technologies and cutting-edge virtual reality and augmented reality experiences, allowing them to get a realistic glimpse into the future.

Then in December, Techniquest will be transformed into an escape room unlike any other. On December 5, Techniquest will join forces with Breakout Cardiff for the intriguing After Hours: Codebreaker event, which will challenge visitors to crack codes, unravel mysteries, and collect clues as part of the exciting evening.

In the new year, the science centre is taking a dip in the deep with its After Hours: Under the Sea evening on February 7. Exploring the wonder of the sea, visitors will be diving into ways that they can help the world’s oceans.

Techniquest CEO Lesley Kirkpatrick said visitors were in for an “unforgettable” new line-up of After Hours events, which have been sponsored once again by Admiral.

Mrs Kirkpatrick said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside Admiral for our brand-new season of After Hours events and are thrilled to be receiving their support once again this year.

“We’re constantly working to make science as accessible and fun for everyone. Our After Hours events aim to do just that, offering a combination of both learning and socialising in a relaxed format. We hope to continue the success of previous After Hours events this coming autumn.”

All After Hours events include full use of the venue’s 130 interactive exhibits and access to a fully licensed bar. Visitors will also be able to grab a bite to eat from Cleverchefs, which will be providing themed street food for each event.

Visitors are encouraged to book early to avoid disappointment as tickets are limited. For full booking information please visit – https://www.techniquest.org/plan-your-visit/after-hours/

Techniquest Planetarium project marks 50th anniversary of moon landing

By Raspberry Jim,

 

Techniquest is set to take one giant leap into space exploration thanks to a special project marking the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

The educational charity, based in Cardiff Bay, is developing a bespoke show for the centre’s Planetarium to mark the historic event, thanks to new funding from a leading government body.

Techniquest has been awarded £6000 from the Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) to celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission in 2019.

The funds will be used to develop the innovative new show, which will take visitors on a 360-degree journey through the solar system to explore the mysteries of the moon.

The funding was awarded after one of Techniquest’s science communicators, Martin Palmer-Smith, submitted the idea through its online ideas platform, Simply Do Ideas. The platform is a digital suggestion box which allows staff to pitch ideas and feedback opinions.

Following his submission, his idea was taken forward to the STFC where it received significant recognition, resulting in financial support of £6000.

It has also received a £1000 donation from Tula Trust to help deliver its school outreach programme, which reaches over 50,000 school pupils in Wales annually with its inspirational STEM-focused programmes.

Clare James, fundraising manager at Techniquest said: “We’re extremely grateful to be receiving incredible financial support from both the STFC and Tula Trust, which have both recognised the work that we’re doing to inspire the future generations of cutting-edge scientists.

“As a charity, we rely heavily on the generosity of individuals and organisations to help us on our mission to deliver interactive STEM learning experiences, to not only young children, but people of all ages.

“Thanks to STFC, we’re delighted to begin developing our public Planetarium show to mark Apollo 11’s historic anniversary. We’ll also be using our generous donation from Tula Trust to deliver inspiring outreach programmes to schools across south Wales.”

Techniquest receives charitable boost to engage young children

By Raspberry Jim,

 

Educational charity Techniquest is continuing its mission to inspire the next generation of scientists after receiving generous donations and scooping a high-profile grant.

The science discovery centre, based in Cardiff Bay, conducts inspirational school outreach programmes, reaching over 50,000 pupils in Wales annually.

Thanks to new donations from charitable trusts, its primary school outreach will enjoy significant financial support.

The Simon Gibson Charitable Trust recently selected Techniquest as one of its 140 financial beneficiaries, gifting £4,000 to the educational charity for the second year running. The donation will be used to deliver free outreach to schools in the Glamorgan area, which will see 8 schools engaged with STEM subjects.

The educational charity has also won new support from the Schroder Charity Trust, with a boost of £5,000 to its outreach for Key Stage 2 pupils in disadvantaged communities across south Wales.

With a grant of over £5,000 from the UK Space Agency, the science discovery centre will be using a portable planetarium to deliver free Starlab sessions to 1,500 primary school pupils.

The Space for All grant supports the outreach aims of the agency, encouraging the use of space as inspiration for teaching and learning and raising awareness of STEM subjects in the United Kingdom.

Clare James, fundraising manager at Techniquest said: “We’re delighted and extremely grateful to be receiving such incredible support from The Simon Gibson Charitable Trust, the Schroder Charity Trust and the UK Space Agency.

“As a charity, we rely heavily on the generosity of individuals and organisations to help us on our mission to deliver interactive STEM learning experiences.

“By taking our educational outreach programmes and Starlab in to local schools, these incredible donations will be used to inspire the future generations of cutting-edge scientists.”

Techniquest secures £3m funding for The Science Capital

By Raspberry Jim,

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.”