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North West science centres secure share of £13m government fund

Wirral’s planned Eureka! Mersey attraction has moved a step closer towards opening in 2021 after securing £3 million of government funding.

The project, which aims to reinvent the borough’s SPACEPORT as a world-class science and discovery experience, is one of two North West science centres to receive a share of the £13m Inspiring Science Fund.

Alongside Eureka! Mersey, which would extend the Eureka! brand beyond its long-running attraction in Halifax, the Liverpool City Region also received a cash boost for the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre in Widnes.

Through the funding pot, which is a joint initiative between the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Wellcome, Catalyst has been awarded £754,600.

Eureka! Mersey is proposed to be a 21st Century science and discovery centre for 0 to 14-year-olds, costing £11m in total.

Eureka! Mersey

Eureka! Mersey will offer young visitors experiences in science, technology, engineering, arts and maths.

Leigh-Anne Stradeski, chief executive of Eureka!, says: “I am absolutely delighted by this news. We are moving closer and closer to bringing Eureka! to the Wirral waterfront and truly believe it will transform the lives of local children and young people.

“This funding from the Inspiring Science scheme is a major step forward for our aspirations to create this world-class visitor attraction in partnership with Wirral Council, Merseytravel and the Liverpool City Region LEP. We are absolutely thrilled and it means we can now develop our plans further, working towards delivering a centre which reflects the context, spirit and ambitions of the area.”

Meanwhile Catalyst Science Discovery Centre plans to use the money to launch its ‘Catalyst for a Future Generation’ project exploring ground-breaking thinking about the relationship between science and wellbeing. New spaces and exhibits will be developed, aiming to inspire a future generation of scientists across the region.

According to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the two Liverpool City Region centres were successful in their funding applications afterpresenting exciting plans to connect with audiences and communities who don’t currently visit science centres or engage with learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)’.

Announcing the funding on Monday (6 August), 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 in the North West will help inspire people to learn about the truly amazing benefits that science and technology has on all our lives.”

A total of six UK science centres have been awarded a share of the funding, with other recipients including Techniquest in Wales, The National Space Centre, and Dundee Science Centre and Glasgow Science Centre in Scotland.