Cash boost for Dundee Science Centre

Dundee Science Centre.

Thousands of pounds is to be pumped into the Dundee Science Centre by the UK Government, The Courier can reveal.

The educational site was the only science centre in the country to be awarded a grant of £40,000.

The money will be used to fund a special community outreach programme designed to introduce adults to forensic science through the medium of murder mystery.

Dundee’s world-leading Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification are helping organise the programme in conjunction with Strathclyde’s Centre for Forensic Science.

Dundee University’s Professor Sue Black, said: “There were over 200 applications for these grants and there were two project grants given to Scotland and Dundee is the only science centre that was successful.

“It is a real coup and they have done a tremendous job.

“It is very exciting,” she added.

Professor Niamh Nic Daeid has designed the murder mystery experience to turn people into budding “Miss Marples”.

She said: “What we are looking to do is create a series of events over six weeks and those events are based loosely on a narrative of a murder mystery.

“The different activities planned will engage the participants in various aspects of forensic science.

“We want to make the science non-threatening by doing an explanation of the real-life aspects of the science.

“But we will do it in a way that gets engagement from the participants because they have to use that information to solve the mystery.”

Participants will get the chance to learn about DNA evidence and fingerprinting, and how those things can be used in murder investigations, Professor Nic Daeid said.

“The way in which the six weeks are being planned out with our colleagues in the science centre is that the participants will find out about the circumstances behind the murder.

“They will then get information and a workshop on fingerprints how to gather them and use them as well as an opportunity to try gathering their own.

“They will use that to narrow down the pool of suspects they have been given. DNA will be treated in a similar way with participants getting the chance to learn about DNA and take their own samples before the case is moved to a trial.”

Laura Wilkie, festivals and development manager at the Dundee Science Centre, said she was delighted to have been awarded the funds and to be working with the two universities.

She said: “We are very excited to work with Sue and her team and hope that the course, which is designed to develop skills, knowledge, confidence and team building as well as raising the profile of local scientific developments, will be a great opportunity for different adults in Dundee and Fife.”

She added that any adults interested in taking part in the project, which starts next month, should contact the science centre.