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Science: Museums and Galleries

Volume 477: debated on Friday 20 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what plans he has to assess the learning impact of science and discovery centres; and if he will make a statement. (212952)

DIUS and DCSF have funded Ecsite-UK as part of a £750,000 package. This funding supported a benchmarking project and grants for consortia of centres to explore new ways of collaborative working with each other to provide inreach and outreach activities to schools, and also included an assessment of available evidence on learning impact as part of a wider review of all impacts. The impact study element of the project can be viewed online at:

In response to the recommendations in the Science and Technology Committee's 2007 inquiry into the funding of science and discovery centres, and as subsequently discussed at the Westminster Hall debate on 15 May this year, my Department is currently commissioning independent research to assess the relative impact, effectiveness and value for money of science centres in comparison with other science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) delivery agents. Impact in this context will be measured in terms of effectiveness in delivering the Government's science and society (STEM and public engagement) goals. The procurement process for this work has begun, so it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage. However, the Terms of Reference for this project have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.