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UCLan officially opens Young Scientist Centre

19 March 2015

Press Office

Youngest person in the world to carry out a nuclear fusion reaction opens new facility  

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has today officially opened its state-of-the-art Young Scientist Centre (YSC) in Preston, a purpose built facility which will give young people greater access to STEM subjects outside school.

The centre was opened by School Reform Minister Nick Gibb along with Jamie Edwards, a local school student and the youngest person in the world to carry out a nuclear fusion reaction, and was attended by children from the local community.

Developed in partnership with the Royal Institution of Great Britain (Ri), UCLan’s ground-breaking new facility is the first of its kind in the UK outside London and has been built to encourage interest, learning and creativity in all aspects of science and technology.

By providing hands-on experiences of science, technology, engineering and mathematics through interactive activities, the YSC offers a unique experience for primary and secondary school pupils and community groups in the region, inspiring and enthusing young people to increase uptake of core subjects.

“At UCLan we are dedicated to providing an enriched experience and encouraging our students to immerse themselves in the world of science and technology, how it works and how this knowledge can be applied to later life."

The occasion was marked by a variety of visual experiments and the inaugural UCLan and Ri YSC Demo Competition, demonstrating the exciting and wide-ranging possibilities of these diverse subjects.

Dr Liz Granger, manager of the UCLan and Ri Young Scientist Centre, said: “At UCLan we are dedicated to providing an enriched experience and encouraging our students to immerse themselves in the world of science and technology, how it works and how this knowledge can be applied to later life. The YSC creates an exciting environment that will motivate young people to embrace STEM subjects before they consider career paths.”

“Both the Engineering Innovation Centre and the YSC demonstrate the University’s commitment to increasing the capacity and capabilities of science, technology, engineering and maths in the region, attracting greater numbers of young people and providing clearer progression routes to develop careers in these growth areas”.

“It is new facilities such as the Young Scientist Centre in Preston that we hope will inspire young people to study science and technology at degree level and help to boost graduate numbers in these crucial core academic subjects.”

School Reform Minister Nick Gibb said: "Our plan for education will ensure all young people leave school with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life in modern Britain.

“Increasing the focus on STEM subjects is important in helping to reinforce the country’s position as a leader in science and innovation.

“It is new facilities such as the Young Scientist Centre in Preston that we hope will inspire young people to study science and technology at degree level and help to boost graduate numbers in these crucial core academic subjects.”

Jamie Edwards, who showcased his nuclear fusion project at the event, added: “I’m really excited by science and think it’s important to show others how much fun you can have with STEM subjects.

“These sorts of facilities aren’t always accessible for school students so the Young Scientist Centre will really help to encourage other young people to reach their potential and enable them to explore science and engineering in an exciting environment.”

Watch a video from the launch.

More images can be viewed on Flickr.