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Innovation Nation: Science Centre to Showcase Scotland

Brian Baglow

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Idea #59 Glasgow Science Centre

Idea #59 aims to inspire the next generation of innovators, inventors, scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs, while demonstrating how new technology will change society.

The Glasgow Science Centre will play host to a new interactive exhibition focusing on innovation and showcase Scotland as a pioneer in emerging technologies.

Idea #59 will explore advances in artificial intelligence (AI), big data, robotics, advanced manufacturing, precision medicine and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Created in conjunction with the Scottish Funding Council and in partnership with Scotland’s eight innovation centres, Idea #59 will have a five year life span and could reach as many as two million visitors to the centre.

The exhibition has so far raised £250,000 in funding and is now calling on industry partners to come on board to raise an additional £750,000 to bring Idea #59 to life.

Scotland as an Innovation Leader

The project will also act as a platform to help the Scottish Government to achieve its ambition to increase innovation throughout Scotland. In 2017, the government introduced proposals to help the advanced manufacturing, energy, and financial technology (fintech) sectors; to provide additional support for graduate entrepreneurs and to help companies to access finance.

In addition, the research and development (R&D) support from Scottish enterprise agencies will increase by over 70% – from £22 million to £37 million per year over three years.

Glasgow Science Centre will work closely with Scotland’s Innovation Centres to develop the exhibition content, educational and public programmes. The Innovation Centres aim to help businesses increase the pace of innovation in Scotland and in turn, help both the Scottish economy and people’s health.

The centres involved in Idea #59 are:

In addition, experts from academia and industry will provide guidance and direction for the exhibition. Representatives from the Innovation Centres, University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), Fraunhofer Scotland, Technology Scotland and Engineering Scotland will all be included.

Idea #59 hopes to

Showcase the types of skills required for future careers. The exhibition will help students connect what they learn in the classroom with the world around them and with opportunities offered by a career in engineering, science and technology through social learning. It will also better inform parents, teachers and careers guidance professionals of the career paths available to inform practical, life changing decisions in a young person’s journey.

Inspire the next generation of innovators by developing critical skills and confidence and providing opportunities for making, designing, developing, creating and producing.

Create a platform for industry to engage the wider community in a discussion about future innovations and the societal impact of these. Technology is changing at a breathtaking pace and the implications in terms of learning, jobs and future can be a cause for concern for many people. Idea #59 will actively highlight the technologies being developed and what these mean for society going forward. It aims to remove some of the fear factor and promote an understanding of the art of the possible.

Shape the Lives of Our Children and Grandchildren

Scotland’s minister for further education, higher education and science, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said: “Scotland was forged on innovation and we must aspire to be the inventor and the manufacturer of the digital, high-tech and low-carbon innovations that will shape the lives of our children and grandchildren.

“It is this Government’s ambition to make Scotland a STEM Nation and it is my hope that Idea #59 will inspire the next generation of Scotland’s innovators, encouraging them to develop the skills needed for the jobs of the future. We are a forward looking, innovative nation and this exhibition is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the ground-breaking work of Scotland’s innovation centres.”

Scotland at the Forefront of Research and Development

Idea #59: Dr Stephen BreslinDr Stephen Breslin, Chief Executive of Glasgow Science Centre, said: “Over the next five years, as AI and machine learning become ingrained in all forms of technology they will deliver exciting new opportunities. Big Data, AI and the Internet of Things, will create new services and breakthroughs in science, as the merging of human intelligence and the digital world gathers pace to transform the global economy.

“The constant flow of new digital tools will reshape every aspect of the professional realm and society in the future. Scotland, being at the forefront of much of the world’s most exciting research and development, is a particularly fertile ground for high-tech careers. With Idea #59 we aim to bring together some of the most exciting research and development partners to inspire the next generation of innovators.”

Make New Ideas a Reality

Commenting on the partnership, Dr Stuart Fancey, Director of Research and Innovation at the Scottish Funding Council, said: “The innovation that science and engineering bring are central to our modern world. The great work in Scotland’s universities, colleges and Innovation Centres to make new ideas reality has a growing impact on our lives in areas such as developing more energy efficient homes and the use of Big Data to improve cancer care, among many others.

“Partnering with Glasgow Science Centre to showcase the innovation in Scotland today is a great way for SFC to help young people learn about the exciting science and engineering jobs those innovations will bring in the Scotland of tomorrow.”

Glasgow Science Centre will continue its fundraising efforts and hopes to deliver the exhibition in spring 2019.

For more information visit the Glasgow Science Centre website.

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Brian Baglow

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