Glasgow City of Science: 2015 Year in Review
- Published on Monday, 21 December 2015 08:24
2015 has seen the Glasgow City of Science (GCOS) partnership go from strength to strength, supporting a record number of multi-partner programmes and activities that aim to support and bolster the science and innovation ecosystem within Glasgow and the West of Scotland. From initiating and supporting the first Venturefest Scotland to driving forward Glasgow's bid to become Innovation Capital (iCapital) of Europe – it has been a fruitful year!
Our broad range of interdisciplinary demonstrator projects leveraged £205000 of direct funding whilst engaging 90 distinct delivery partners, 1500 stakeholders and 21200 citizens and learners.
With over 6,000 page views per month, our dynamic website provides a common platform for science activity across Glasgow and the West of Scotland. Be sure and exploit this fantastic digital resource which includes a regional events feed supported by The List and with potential reach of 1.6 million people. Furthermore join around 1000 of our stakeholders and receive the highly acclaimed GCOS Weekly Science Digest - a slick and colourful roundup of the latest events, news articles and blog pieces – sign up here!
With considerable followings on social media, we are continually raising awareness of our partner’s collective activities and achievements in STEAMMS (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Design, Mathematics, Medicine, Social Science). Connect with us and get involved in our social media campaigns including #ScienceSnaps with Jessops – a competition encouraging stakeholders and the wider public to submit images of STEAMMS in action.
Our partnership activities receive a great deal of media attention with over 55 print items published since March 2014. In 2015 our Programme Director, Dr Susie Mitchell, talked about GCOS activities and science policy issues on STV, BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour alongside Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. Our media coverage currently equates to around 11.5 million opportunities to hear about GCOS.
We continue to develop relationships with major broadcasters and in 2015 supported a BBC Scotland radio series, ‘Scots Who Changed the World’. Presented by Dr Susie Mitchell and featuring experts from City of Science partners, the series showcases Scotland’s most inspirational scientists. An episode on James Clerk Maxwell was adapted for the BBC World Service (16 million listeners per month) and was named as the service’s most played programme in BBC Scotland’s Management Review.
Having guided GCOS since its inception, Sir Kenneth Calman stepped down as Chairman in March 2015 - but will continue supporting the initiative as its Honorary President. Taking on the helm of Chair is Stuart Patrick, CEO of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and a major influencer within the city region’s business community. Stuart is passionate about selling Glasgow to the world as a transformative and resilient economic powerhouse and is motivated to take the GCOS into its next phase of growth.
GCOS was central in bringing Innovate UK’s Venturefest to Scotland with the inaugural summit taking place in Glasgow Science Centre on September 9th 2015. With over 850 registered delegates (smashing the target of 400!) and supported by GCOS partners including Glasgow City Council and Scottish Enterprise; Venturefest Scotland brought together the country’s brightest innovators, academics, entrepreneurs and investors for a packed programme of inspirational talks, workshops and an innovation expo. With the aim of harnessing the SME sector to support innovation-driven economic growth, the summit carried the theme “Growing a Green Economy” aligning with Glasgow’s Green Year celebrations. Scottish Enterprise project managed the event and committed to a minimum of three annual Venturefest gatherings in Scotland.
To compliment Venturefest; GCOS and its partners supported an ongoing series of pan Scotland feeder events to help create the conditions for SMEs in Scotland to flourish. Among these was a youth talent development strand, VentureJam – conceived by GCOS and facilitated by Young Scot. Funded by a range of GCOS partners, VentureJam brought together a diverse group of young people with inspirational mentors from the legal profession, engineering, waste management, green policy-making and the creative industries to come up with a ‘digital response’ to a local environmental challenge. The young people pitched their business ideas to investors at Venturefest Scotland and on live television. They continue to develop their ideas with business leaders.
We believe that one of the best methods of creating innovation with impact is by combining science with creativity, regularly supporting local artists, filmmakers, musicians and creative talents to raise the profile of science in the region.
In this regard, another major activity in the calendar was our involvement in the European Science TV and New Media Awards, supported by Creative Clyde and People Make Glasgow. The only UK host city, we convened a Young Jury from across the region to be part of an interactive film festival and international voting panel. Jurors attended screenings of acclaimed science documentaries before engaging in stimulating group discussions with Glasgow Youth Film Festival facilitators.
To help promote Glasgow’s science through creative media, GCOS also developed the SCI SHORTS one-minute filmmaking challenge, working in partnership with GMAC Film. Participants attended story development workshops, connecting with experts on Glasgow’s world-class developments in satellite technology, precision medicine and 3D digital visualisation. SCI SHORTS 2015 impacted a total of 114 filmmakers with 12 films screened in our Awards Event in Cineworld IMAX at Glasgow Science Centre. Glasgow’s SCI SHORTS filmmaker, Isa Rao, went on to win Best One Minute Video at the European Science TV and New Media Awards, for her wonderful ‘A Guide to Personalised Medicine’.
To promote STEAMMS careers, we produced a fun educational animation, ‘Launching Into Physics’, supported by the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA) and incorporating Explorathon Glasgow footage of astronaut Alexander Gerst aboard the International Space Station.
GCOS also supported ‘Submerge,’ an interactive art installation of Glasgow’s hidden watercourses, created by Cryptic artist, Kathy Hinde, in collaboration with Glasgow’s Green Year, Glasgow Scientific Services and OPAL. Part of the Sonica festival, the piece integrated scientific analysis, social history and environmental awareness – and has boasted over 12,000 visitors to date.
The ‘Glasgow City of Scientists’ project is being developed to promote the region’s rising STEAMMS stars and demonstrate the diverse pool of talent driving innovation – particularly ethnic minority groups and women. To realise this vision an artist in residence (Carolyn Alexander, University of Glasgow) helped to develop Glasgow City of Scientists resource as part of her post grad studies. Plans to create a permanent ‘Glasgow City of Scientists’ exhibition are underway.
Environmental education programme, OPAL (Open Air Laboratories), continues to excel, surpassing targets at halfway through its three year plan. Working with community-based groups across Glasgow, OPAL has engaged with over 5500 people – 61% of the 9000 target – and has reached 75% of target participants from less-advantaged backgrounds. Community Scientist, Joanne Dempster, is at the forefront of OPAL’s Glasgow activities - engaging school children and community groups through the citizen science initiative. GCOS has supported OPAL in building partnerships with public sector and charitable organisations thereby supporting the success of the programme.
These examples merely scratch the surface of the countless activities that GCOS has supported this year. We would like to thank all of our colleagues, partners and stakeholders for their continuing support. With a new Chairman, a myriad of planned partnership programmes, including Glasgow’s iCapital bid; 2016 set to be another stellar year for the Glasgow City of Science partnership. Be sure to get involved!
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