Nicola Sturgeon opens aviation STEM centre

First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon; President of Boeing Europe, Sir Martin Donnelly and Axel Storli, First Scandinavia.
First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon; President of Boeing Europe, Sir Martin Donnelly and Axel Storli, First Scandinavia.

First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has announced Glasgow Science Centre will become home to the United Kingdom’s first Newton Flight Academy, a permanent classroom used to teach students aviation-related STEM concepts that will include three full-motion flight simulators.   

The academy has been made possible through funding from Boeing and is being developed in partnership with First Scandinavia. In 2018, Boeing invested more than £3.5 million to set up a network of STEM-focused “Newton Rooms” around Europe. This will be the first full academy outside of Norway when it opens in spring of 2022. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We need to find ways to decarbonise air travel if we are to achieve that goal while rebuilding connectivity, and that needs international collaboration between governments and industry. Only by maximising the opportunities in front of us ­– research and development; inspiring young people to consider STEM careers in Scotland and further afield; and testing out sustainable technologies – can we endeavour to leave a planet that future generations can be proud of.

“Innovations like Boeing’s Glasgow Newton Flight Academy enable young people to join us on this crucial journey and discover the fascinating learning and career opportunities a net zero society creates.” 

The state-of-the-art space will be used to deliver immersive, experiential learning programmes that will enable students to engage in real-world challenges by working together with industry professionals, and will include the experience of flying in state-of-the-art flight simulators. The programmes will cover themes including space, biofuels, and advanced materials and manufacturing. These will be delivered in partnership with the University of Strathclyde.  

The First Minister made the announcement at the Boeing Innovation Forum, at Glasgow Airport designed to bring together partners in Scotland and the broader aviation sector to demonstrate the role today’s sustainable technologies can play in the future of aviation and prepare the industry for a more sustainable future. 

The Boeing Innovation Forum is under the umbrella of the Boeing Scotland Alliance, which was launched in 2020 with Scottish Enterprise. It is designed to explore opportunities to work together in Scotland, with the aim of doubling Boeing’s supply chain and creating 200 new quality jobs in five years.

The centrepiece of the event is the ecoDemonstrator, an Alaska Airlines 737-9 that is testing 20 new technologies to solve real-world challenges for airlines, passengers and the environment.

“When we signed the Boeing Scotland Alliance almost two years ago we wanted to work in many locations and sectors, to combine the best of what Boeing can offer with the world-class supply chain, startups, universities and research centres in Scotland,” said Sir Martin Donnelly, president of Boeing Europe and managing director of Boeing in the UK and Ireland. “This week’s events are a showcase of what we’ve done collectively already, and also what is possible in Scotland and the wider UK when industry, government and academia work collaboratively to create a more sustainable future.” 




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