One Giant Leap Forward for the National Space Centre

Thanks to a unanimous 'yes' vote from the Inspiring Science Fund judging panel, the National Space Centre has been successful in securing funds to introduce two unique new facilities that will be developed with help from aspiring, creative young people in Leicester.

The Extended Reality Laboratory (XR Lab) and Astronaut Training Centre (ATC) will deliver exciting new experiences for both family and school audiences. Young people interested in gaming and design will be invited to learn how content is made for virtual, augmented and mixed reality, and to show off their work back in their communities and at the National Space Centre itself.

Both developments will exploit the world-renowned skills of the NSC Creative production company and the expertise of the National Space Centre Space Communications team. The Leicester City Council Neighbourhood Services team and University of Leicester unit for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement (DICE) are both fully involved to help spread the word, deliver outreach programmes in the communities and measure impact.

The National Space Centre was initially created as one of a new breed of Science and Discovery Centres that operate with no government funding, but support STEM educations for hundreds of thousands of children and adults each year.

The Centre itself has continued to develop, with NSC Creative and the National Space Academy currently managing contracts all around the world. As leaders in their field, their skills will ensure that these two new facilities will be both world class and ground-breaking.

The Inspiring Science Fund supports science centres across the UK. It's a capital fund that helps centres rethink what they do and what they offer to the public.

The scheme is co-funded by BEIS and the Wellcome Trust.

Chas Bishop, Chief Executive at the Centre said: “We are hugely grateful to the Inspiring Science Fund for backing this project and showing faith in Leicester’s scientific and creative talent. Our teams have spent many months looking at how we can make a real difference not only to our visitors, but also those who might lack the confidence or means by which to enjoy science at school or visit places like the National Space Centre. The Leicester City Council and University of Leicester teams have been brilliant in the planning stages. We look forward to growing these partnerships and adding to all the new things that are constantly changing how the National Space Centre looks and feels. The Inspiring Science Fund will help us take what we do to the next level, but we are not stopping there… watch this space!”

Science Minister Sam Gyimah said: “We want to bring the wonders of science to as wide an audience as possible and that’s why it is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy. Today’s investment will help inspire people from across the country to learn about the truly amazing benefits that science and technology has on all our lives.”