The UK’s very first Newton Room, designed to inspire more young people to get into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) has been opened.
Located at North Highland College UHI in Thurso, it is the first of a network of Newton Rooms being created in the region as part of the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal.
Around £3 million is being put toward the project, led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which aims to provide resources for school pupils to take part in practical activities applicable to STEM sectors located in the region.
It will also provide an accessible base for extracurricular STEM activities for more than just young people. Families and people across the local community, and the region as a whole, are able to use the Newton Room.
Commenting on the opening, HIE’s director for the Science Skills Academy, Andrew Johnston, said: “It’s great to see the first Newton Room in the country officially opened in Thurso. Caithness has been at the forefront of scientific and technological advances in Scotland for more than 60 years and this facility will help it stay there.
“The centre will aim to inspire young people across the whole of Caithness and North Sutherland who are interested in STEM subjects.”
The first centre of its kind was opened in Norway more than a decade ago, and there are now more than 38 across the country. In 2015, the first to be opened outside Norway was in Denmark.
Closer to home, the second Scottish location will be opened on the 2nd of April this year. During the interim period, this will be hosted at the Caol Youth Centre in Fort William.
Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Richard Lochhead added: “The Newton Rooms project offers pupils and the community a wonderful opportunity to discover and become enthused by STEM.
“This is the first facility of its kind to open in the UK, supported by the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal, and reflects Scotland’s position as a pioneer in STEM. It is important that we engage and involve people from all walks of life and at all ages to develop STEM skills and knowledge in our rapidly changing world,”