Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium is a leading hands-on science and discovery centre dedicated to sparking curiosity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The Science Centre welcomes more than 175,000 visitors per year from across the South of England and is home to the UK’s largest standalone planetarium.
Winchester Science Centre is an independent educational charity formed in 1985 as a strategic initiative with local government and businesses, to address the shortage of young people entering technical careers at both regional and national level. In 2002, with funding from the Millennium Commission, the charity relocated to a purpose built facility in the South Downs National Park and has grown to become a major visitor attraction in the south.
The Centre provides an extensive learning and participation programme to nearly 40,000 school children onsite and offers outreach activities, which include a mobile planetarium.
Our Vision - Sparking Curiosity, Our Mission - Building Science Capital for All
Science Capital is a concept that can help us to understand why some young people participate in post-16 science and others do not. In particular, it helps shed light on why particular social groups remain underrepresented and why many young people do not see science careers as being “for me“.
The concept of Science Capital can be imagined like a holdall or bag, containing all the science-related knowledge, attitudes, experiences and resources that you acquire through life. It includes what science you know, how you think about science (your attitudes and dispositions), who you know (e.g. if your parents are very interested in science) and what sort of everyday engagement you have with science. This concept, that your Science Capital can be influenced by many different methods, is of particular interest to Winchester Science Centre as the charity engages with many different audiences, in many different ways.
Our Core Principles
Our five core underlying principles are central to the success of our charity and provide a vehicle to implement the strategic plan across the organisation. The core principles are arranged in order to feed into the sustainability of the charity and collectively unite to form the future of Winchester Science Centre.
Management and Trustees
The Winchester Science Centre staff team consists of education, STEM Now and planetarium staff, an in-house workshop team, finance, marketing, corporate, admin and front-of-house staff plus a Director. There are 17 Trustees who are leaders in their fields and greatly assist with the strategic development of the Science Centre. The Science Centre is fortunate to have two Patrons - the Earl of Selborne and the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire.
Chief Executive Officer:
Mr Ben Ward
Director of Finance:
Mr David Carpenter
Director of STEM Strategy:
Ms Emily Thorpe-Smith
Director of Operations:
Mr Graeme Pick
Director of Marketing & Communications:
Ms Charlotte Barnaville
Board of Trustees:
Dr Toby King - Chair of Trustees
Dr Ian Jenkins - Deputy Chair of Trustees
Mr Jeremy Booker
Mr Colin Brook
Dr Dolores Byrne
Mr John Clarke
Professor Malcolm Coe
Mr Barry Lipscomb
Professor Diane Newell
Mr Richard Peckham
Ms Janet Preston
Dr Martin Read
Ms Elizabeth Wallace
Mr Paul Wilton
In 1985 the charity was founded and initially housed in an old canteen on the site of a secondary school in Winchester. Exhibits were made by volunteers and later a paid work force was employed.
In 2002 the Science Centre was re-housed into a new 3,500 square metre purpose-built, award winning building at Morn Hill, near Winchester. The multi-million pound project was funded partly through the Millennium Commission, NTL, IBM, the DfES and DTI, SEEDA and HCC. The exciting exhibition consists of 100 hands-on exhibits, which communicate the fundamental principles of science and technology and their applications in industry and the home in a fun and interactive way.
In 2008, with the support of SEEDA, the auditorium was converted into the largest capacity digital planetarium in the UK - employing state of the art digital projection equipment and software. The planetarium programme comprises a full range of presenter-led and pre-recorded shows for schools and the general public.
In October 2013 INTECH changed its name to Winchester Science Centre.
The exciting exhibition consists of 100 hands-on exhibits, which communicate the fundamental principles of science and technology and their applications in industry and the home in a fun and interactive way. The Science Centre acts as an inspirational school visit destination and a unique and fun public visitor attraction. Almost all of the exhibits are designed and built in-house utilising many years of experience to ensure that they are fun, educational and robust; the Workshop team also build exhibits for other science centres, museums and attractions.
Schools visiting the Science Centre benefit by participating in a whole host of scientific and technological investigations and hands-on experiences which cover many areas of the curriculum. Winchester Science Centre also runs curriculum related workshops with pre-planned learning outcomes for class-sized groups on topics such as control technology, data capture and computer aided design and manufacture. The workshops can be delivered at the Science Centre or offsite as part of the Outreach programme
Winchester Science Centre holds the STEMNET Contract for Hampshire and Isle of Wight and as such it provides information and links to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Enhancement & Enrichment (E&E) activities. The Science Centre recruits people who are willing to give their time and energy free of charge to help inspire young people in STEM; they are largely people employed in or recently retired from STEM careers and university students. The Science Centre facilitates their DBS checks, maintains a database of their skills and helps to deploy them to schools and colleges – they can do this in a variety of ways from illustrating specific careers or helping with classroom activities to assisting in extracurricular activities such as clubs, challenges and competitions. The Brokerage and Ambassadors contracts are awarded by STEMNET.
Winchester Science Centre also has a wider role in the community presenting a range of fascinating lectures and science shows. The Space Lectures give visitors the chance to hear internationally renowned experts talk about their field of interest in an engaging way followed by a tour of the night sky using the planetarium. The Science Lectures are designed to be family-friendly and cover a range of topics ranging from Cloud-spotting to ‘Maggots and Murders’ – the role of insect evidence in forensics.
As well as a superb all-weather centre Winchester Science Centre offers a variety of flexible facilities for corporate meetings, conferences, launches and hospitality. The air conditioned planetarium provides a stunning setting for business presentations with its 176 tiered seats, state of the art lighting and 7.1 surround sound.
Winchester Science Centre is proud of the impact it has achieved, making the most of its limited resources. In 2010 the outstanding achievements of the Winchester Science Centre team were recognised when INTECH Science Centre was awarded ‘Business of the Year’ at the Winchester Business Excellence Awards. At the same awards Winchester Science Centre also won the category ‘Business Excellence through Technology’. In 2013 the Science Centre was nominated for two Winchester Business Excellence Awards and also long-listed for the national Kids in Museums Awards.
Winchester Science Centre is an independent educational charity. Registered Charity No. 294582 - Company No. 02014929 - VAT No. GB 711 9712 45