Science Gallery International has announced a deal to establish a facility in Australia, as part of a partnership with the University of Melbourne.

The first Science Gallery was opened in Trinity College Dublin in 2008 and displays interactive exhibitions that focuses on cutting edge research. The Melbourne facility is to be the fourth international Science Gallery and marks the half-way point in the organisation's attempt to create a network of eight like-minded institutions by 2020.

Michael John Gorman, CEO of Science Gallery International, said that Melbourne was an obvious choice as a location for one of the global centres. "Melbourne is a city which combines world class science, particularly with the University of Melbourne but with other research institutions also, with a thriving arts scene and creative scene," he said. "That's exactly the kind of combination that we look for in choosing locations for science galleries."

Science Gallery International has already struck deals to roll out centres in London and Bangalore, while it remains in talks with other locations about expanding the network further in the years ahead. Mr Gorman said this international expansion was an attempt to build on the centre's aim of furthering scientific education.

"When we started Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin in 2008 it was very much an experiment in a new model for engaging and inspiring young adults around science and technology by bringing them into combination with the arts and design," he said. "We never expected it to have the success and the response that it's had in Dublin - we've had over 2 million visitors since opening back then - and with the help of Google the idea was conceived to actually create a global network of science galleries."

The core reason for this, he said, was to inspire millions of minds worldwide to engage with the key challenges and opportunities facing the planet in the coming decades. Science Gallery International is expecting to spend around €120m in the rollout of this network, with support coming from industry, the State and philanthropic backers. However the organisation is a business as well, and anticipates turnover of around €1.2m in the next two years - despite the fact that it does not charge an entry fee into exhibits. "One of the key places that revenue comes from is touring exhibitions," Mr Gorman said, pointing out that events are currently taking place in Malaysia, Taiwan and Spain. "The network also generates revenue through licensing, so there is IP in the Science Gallery concept which we licence from Dublin to other universities as part of the network," he said.

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