Dáil Éireann - Volume 653 - 29 April, 2008

Written Answers. - National Science Museum.

[422] Deputy Barry Andrews asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if there are proposals for a science museum in the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16577/08]

  Deputy Micheál Martin: In January of this year Science Gallery, located in the Naughton Institute in Trinity College Dublin, opened to the public. The Gallery, which provides a venue for a variety of science exhibitions and events, aims to present science in new and stimulating ways. While open to all, the primary target audience for Science Gallery is young adults in the 15-25 age bracket. It aims to present science and engineering as attractive educational and career options to young people at a stage when critical decisions about subject choice, third level options and future careers are being made. In 2007, my Department provided €4.454 million on a once-off basis to assist with the setting up of the Science Gallery, as it is ideally suited to supporting the science awareness goals of the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation 2006-2013. Under this Strategy, the Government has set a goal for Ireland to be a leader in research and development and innovation and has committed a budget of €8.2 billion under the National Development Plan 2007-2013 towards achieving this goal.

In addition, Exploration Station, a purpose built interactive learning centre designed specifically for Ireland and dedicated to providing a hands-on learning and discovery experience focused predominately on Science and Technology, is planned as part of the Heuston Gate development in Dublin. This centre will be aimed primarily at younger children. The Office of Public Works will provide the building for the centre. My Department, in recognising that this centre will also help to realise the awareness goals of the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation, has committed to providing €4.5 million over the period 2007- 2010 for the fit-out and design element of the project. Separately, a total of €100,000 has been provided by Discover Science and Engineering, the science awareness programme run under the aegis of Forfás, to support the exhibition planning stage for Exploration Station.