New exhibition to inspire next generation of innovators, engineers, and scientists

IdeaGlasgow Science Centre (GSC), in partnership with the Scottish Government sponsored Scottish Funding Council, is aiming to host an interactive exhibition which will focus on innovation. It says Idea #59 will inspire the next generation of innovators, engineers, and scientists by exploring AI, big data, robotics, advanced manufacturing, precision medicine, and the Internet of Things.

Organisers said that while aiming to engage wider society on how new technology will impact future generations, the exhibition will be “expertly crafted so that it is fun and engaging for people of all ages”.

It will showcase the cutting-edge work carried out by Scotland’s eight Innovation Centres. So far £250,000 in funding has been raised and now the Centre is calling on businesses to come on board as partners to help raise the remaining £750,000 to bring the exhibition to life.

It said that the project will also help realise the Scottish Government’s aims around increasing innovation in Scotland. Last summer, the Government outlined proposals to help the advanced manufacturing, energy and financial technology sectors, to give additional support for graduate entrepreneurs and to help companies to access finance.

In addition, it was announced that research and development (R&D) support from Scottish Government enterprise agencies was to increase almost 70%  – from £22m to £37m per year over three years.

GSC will work alongside Scotland’s innovation centres to develop the exhibition content and educational and public programme. The eight centres, funded by the Scottish Funding Council, aim to help businesses increase the pace of innovation and, in turn, help both the Scottish economy and people’s health.

For Idea #59, GSC will be working alongside the Centre of Excellence for Sensor and Imaging Systems (CENSIS), Construction Scotland (CSIC), Digital Health and Care Institute (DHI), Stratified Medicine (SMS-IC), Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), Oil & Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC), Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) and The Data Lab.

A group of experts from academia and industry will provide advice, guidance and direction for the new exhibition. Members include representatives from the innovation centres, University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), Fraunhofer Scotland, Technology Scotland and Engineering Scotland.

Almost 70,000 schoolchildren visit Glasgow Science Centre annually and the exhibition, housed on the second floor, will be a focal point of the its education programme and “act as a powerful engagement tool to help inform young people of the wide range and rewarding careers available within the sector”. Over its five-year life span it is estimated Idea #59 could draw in around two million people.

Dr Stephen Breslin, GSC’s chief executive, said: “Over the next five years, as AI and machine learning become ingrained in all forms of technology they will deliver exciting new opportunities. Big Data, AI and the Internet of Things, will create new services and breakthroughs in science, as the merging of human intelligence and the digital world gathers pace to transform the global economy.

“The constant flow of new digital tools will reshape every aspect of the professional realm and society in the future. Scotland, being at the forefront of much of the world’s most exciting research and development, is a particularly fertile ground for high-tech careers. With Idea #59 we aim to bring together some of the most exciting research and development partners to inspire the next generation of innovators.”

Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville, added: “Scotland was forged on innovation and we must aspire to be the inventor and the manufacturer of the digital, high tech and low carbon innovations that will shape the lives of our children and grandchildren.

“It is this Government’s ambition to make Scotland a STEM Nation and it is my hope that Idea #59 will inspire the next generation of Scotland’s innovators, encouraging them to develop the skills needed for the jobs of the future. We are a forward looking, innovative nation and this exhibition is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the ground-breaking work of Scotland’s innovation centres.”

Commenting on the partnership, Dr Stuart Fancey, director of research and innovation at the Scottish Funding Council, said: “The innovation that science and engineering bring are central to our modern world. The great work in Scotland’s universities, colleges and Innovation Centres to make new ideas reality has a growing impact on our lives in areas such as developing more energy efficient homes and the use of Big Data to improve cancer care, amongst many others.

“Partnering with Glasgow Science Centre to showcase the innovation in Scotland today is a great way for SFC to help young people learn about the exciting science and engineering jobs those innovations will bring in the Scotland of tomorrow.”