NEWS The space centre, Umevatoriet, in Umeå receives SEK 20 million from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation for a new dome theatre – where visitors learn as they experience what it’s like to travel across the Universe, through the human body or to other inaccessible places. The donation is intended to promote interest in science and technology, particularly among young Swedes.
We want to inspire children and youngsters to discover how exciting science can be. The country's Science Centers serve an important purpose by presenting scientific research in a playful way that awakens curiosity. It's essential they can also do this using the latest technology, both because the technology itself is part of the science, and also to attract as many visitors as possible," says Peter Wallenberg Jr, chairperson of the Foundation.
A particularly huge challenge that faces Sweden at present is to increase interest for technology and the natural sciences among young people in order to meet future societal challenges. Sweden wants to maintain its high level of competence required to continue its strive to be a knowledge-driven nation with a trade and industry that is based upon state-of-the-art technology. And in achieving this, large investments into education and knowledge-sharing is needed both in the northern region and on a national scale.
In total, five Swedish Science Centres have been granted funds. The funds granted to Umeå go to Umevatoriet, which is now given the chance to develop its operations with a new dome theatre. Umevatoriet is now planning to move from the business park Umestan to Sliperiet at Umeå Arts Campus – a place abundant with knowledge and creativity, and with a more central location.
“The grant from Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation is an important addition that now enables us to implement our visions of a full-scale science centre in Umeå. The funds come at a suitable point in the development phase we are now in with plans for further developing and moving our operations to new premises,” says Anders Fällström, who is chairperson of the project team for Umeå Science Centre.
The idea is for the new science centre at Sliperiet to reach a number of target audiences such as children and young people, teachers and nursery teachers, researchers and students, companies and organisations, makers and creators, artists and innovators.
“Being granted these funds from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, enables us to realise the vision of creating operations that reaches such a high level that can only be found in a few international environments such as MIT, Stanford and the Hayden Planetarium. We are looking forward to increased contact with these organisations, as well as with the Nordic Science Centre association and a few other environments in Japan running corresponding businesses,” says Annika Kjellsson Lind, manager at Umevatoriet.
On a national scale, some natural collaborative partners are the other science centres that together with Umevatoriet receive grants from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.
Anders Fällström, Deputy Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for education at Umeå University, as well as chairperson of the Umevatoriet Board.Phone: +46 70-493 85 27
Annika Kjellsson Lind, manager at Umevatoriet, Umeå UniversityPhone: +46 70-304 66 70
Editor: Mattias Grundström Mitz