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Science: Government Assistance

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 21 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what mechanisms exist in Government to coordinate, develop and evaluate science centres. (144107)

DTI supported the start up of Ecsite UK, an umbrella organisation for science and discovery centres, to provide a national voice to the Government and to be the point of reference for the work of science and discovery centres. The Government have never had any direct responsibility for the set up and development of any individual science centres.

DTI and DfES are funding an Ecsite-UK initiative, totalling £750,000 between November 2006 to March 2008, for work which will enable consortia of science centres to work more effectively together and in collaboration with other organisations, with the objective of achieving financial sustainability.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of science centres in the UK and of their role in science education; and what the Government's plans are for the development of science centres in the next five years. (144108)

Science centres are one of the many ways in which enthusiasm for science can be generated among young people. DTI and DfES are currently providing £750,000 to Ecsite UK, an umbrella body for science and discovery centres, for work specifically designed to allow science centres to assess how they can work in combination with others, to achieve financial sustainability.

Future development of science centres is a matter for the science centres themselves.