‘The Stuff of Science Fiction’ – Dundee Science Centre Expansion Plans

Some of the most exciting scientific advances being pioneered in Dundee are to be brought to life as part of Dundee Science Centre’s ambitious £1.6M expansion plans.

The Wellcome Trust has awarded £850,000 towards the Centre’s proposals which will focus on its two prime audiences – visitors and learners.  Complementing a fantastic new exhibition, focusing on non-invasive medical technologies, will be state-of-the-art learning facilities, including a lecture theatre and live links to Ninewells Hospital clinicians.

04 Theatre Space

Dundee Science Centre, which attracts over 70,000 visitors each year, is now actively fundraising to fill the £540,000 funding gap required to bring the plans to fruition, which have been drawn up by AIM Design Dundee, multi-award winning and multi-disciplinary architects and interior designers.    It is hoped that work will commence on site in the Autumn of 2014.

The highlight of the plans is the new exhibition, where visitors will discover how today’s medical therapies can be administered without scalpels and scars. Robots, bubbles, ultrasound and lasers are all being developed at the Institute for Medical Science and Technology (IMSaT) in Dundee, and the exhibition will inspire and excite visitors of all ages, introducing them to the world of medical intervention beyond surgery.

The development, on the first floor, will include a new surgical theatre space where minimal access (‘keyhole’) surgery developed in Dundee will be demonstrated to both the public and students on mock human torsos.  The exhibition is underpinned by the work of Dundee’s very own Professor Sir Alfred Cuschieri, a global pioneer of keyhole surgery and and co-founder of IMSaT.

07 Exhibition

Through demos, shows and experiments, the public will be able to try their hand at keyhole surgery, adopting the role of surgeon or clinician.  Learners will also be able to engage with a virtual autopsy in the form of a 3D table, investigating what we can learn from Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanning and how it can be used to aid treatment.

Meanwhile, as part of Dundee Science Centre’s Science Learning Institute, school pupils, teachers and science learning professionals will be able to link live to Ninewells Hospital and to IMSaT using large screens in the theatre.  They will witness surgeons and clinicians training in the use of technology and equipment and be able to question the operators of the equipment.

Louise Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Dundee Science Centre said, “We are hugely excited to be planning this major expansion which will add tremendous value to the visitor experience but also cement our deserved reputation as a hub for science learning and public engagement within our community.

“The mind-blowing exhibition space will immerse visitors in the world of medical technology, trace the development of technologies in medicine and tell a very human story about their impacts on life and society. Some of the technologies we will be showcasing truly are the stuff of science fiction and, crucially, are being developed just minutes away. We are exceptionally proud to be hosting such an exhibition and to be the public platform for the tremendous and life-changing work taking place right here in the city.”

The funding package will also see the formation of a mezzanine extension within the Centre, becoming a much-needed extended  ‘home’ for the Science Learning Institute to develop and deliver the many courses it runs with partners, present and future, benefitting countless school pupils, further and higher education students, and other learners.  The mezzanine will house a new 80 seat lecture theatre for the Science Learning Institute, two learning zones for teacher / scientist collaborative working (accommodating a total of 50 seats), two break-out spaces and a drop-in zone.

Louise Smith continued, “We are planning a cohesive look and feel for the mezzanine area, rather than having separate areas for formal learning and public engagement.  We will have exhibits and learning spaces sitting alongside surgical technology tools and equipment – both new and old.  This way, we will create an immersive and enjoyable mix of hands-on activities, art gallery style image collections and museum style artefact displays, tracing the history of these pioneering non-invasive techniques.”

For more information on Dundee Science Centre, please visit www.dundeesciencecentre.org.uk

NOTE TO EDITORS

Science Learning Institute Partners: The University of Dundee, Revealing Research, Dundee College, Scottish Schools Education Resource Centre, Abertay University, Dundee and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry.

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