New Chair Vows to Take Dundee Science Centre to ‘the Next Level’

An international business leader with a long career in global technology companies has outlined his vision for Dundee Science Centre, following his appointment as Chair of the Board.

Hugh Aitken CBE, former Director and Strategic Advisor for Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Scotland, replaces outgoing Chair Professor David Sigsworth OBE who led the Centre’s continued success for 15 years, and sat on the Board for 20. Mr Aitken will lead the Centre through an ambitious refurbishment as it approaches its 20th birthday in 2020.

Hugh Aitken

With over 30 years’ experience with multi-billion-dollar global technology companies, Mr Aitken held senior positions in Sun Microsystems (now Oracle Corporation) in Scotland and Microsoft Corporation, USA.

Between 2000 and 2006, he was Chair of Electronics Scotland, a technology sector forum that became the thought leaders for the Scottish Government and the Scottish and UK press. He also Chaired the Scottish Cyber Resilience Board from 2017 to 2018, reporting directly to the Deputy First Minister of Scotland, John Swinney. Mr Aitken was awarded the Commander of the British Empire for his services to charity and the technology industry in 2005.

Since initially opening as a visitor attraction in 2000, Dundee Science Centre has evolved to engage over 80,000 people in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities each year.

Having unveiled its new £2.1M Medical Marvels exhibition and Science Learning Suite last year, the Centre is now focusing its efforts on reimagining and upgrading the ground-floor facilities and integrating widening access through the £2M CONNECT project, which will transform the visitor attraction into an even more accessible community hub.

The refurbishment will see the ground floor developed into a custom-built hub with improved scope for events, talks and workshops celebrating community work, as well as a new welcome area, under 7’s exhibition area, sensory zone and new exhibition space.

The Centre is a nationally significant science education resource for schools, further and higher education and a well-recognised leader in widening access for ‘hard to reach’ audiences.

Mr Aitken commented, “I am absolutely delighted to be appointed Chair of Dundee Science Centre at this pivotal time in its history, and at a real turning point for the city as a whole.

“The Centre has made huge progress since it opened its doors in 2000 and, with plans to complete the upgrading of the entire interior by March 2021, it’s time to take Dundee Science Centre to the next level, locally, nationally and internationally. Dundee is now welcoming growing visitor numbers from across the world and it’s our mission and responsibility to ensure that we embrace and maximise the Centre’s full potential in line with the city’s transformation.

“We need to ensure that people see Dundee Science Centre as an attraction worth visiting again and again. We have a huge amount to offer a growing range of audiences, not just children and families. The recent £2.1M investment and the forthcoming refurbishment through our CONNECT project will develop and expand the Centre’s diverse offering, creating a science centre which Dundee and Scotland can be proud of, and I very much look forward to turning that vision into action.”

Linda Leuchars, CEO, Dundee Science Centre added, “I am delighted to welcome Hugh on board, and excited to be working with him on the next stage of Dundee Science Centre’s journey.”
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