October 20, 2023
Groundbreaking for VISTA Science Experience Center at ISTA Campus
With Minister Polaschek and Governor of Lower Austria Mikl-Leitner
From 2025, science communication to the general population will have its own location on the campus of the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA) in Klosterneuburg. The groundbreaking ceremony for the VISTA Science Experience Center was held today – by Federal Minister Martin Polaschek, State Governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner, ISTA President Martin Hetzer and ISTA Vice President for Science Education Gaia Novarino. On around 1,500m2, the building makes science tangible and accessible for all visitors. The building is an important step for the Institute’s increased activities in the area of science education under the new brand ‘VISTA Science Experiences’.
Just this week the Institute officially announced the launch of its own science education program: VISTA Science Experiences (www.vistascience.at). The aim is not only to arouse interest and enthusiasm for research, but also to explain how science works. There are numerous offers for children, young people and adults in public parks, schools and youth centers – and of course on the ISTA campus. There are also a lot of digital offers. From 2025, science education will also have its own building in the heart of the campus, near the historic buildings and the pond, in the middle of the institute’s cutting-edge research.
“Bridge for science” as a “cornerstone of society”
The groundbreaking ceremony for the building was done on Friday morning by ISTA President Martin Hetzer and ISTA Vice President for Science Education Gaia Novarino together with Martin Polaschek, Federal Minister for Education, Science and Research, and the Lower Austrian Governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner.
On this occasion, Polaschek emphasized: “Education, science and communication are important cornerstones of our modern society, and the VISTA Science Experience Center on the ISTA Campus will be living proof of how these areas can merge in practice. Active science communication, promoting understanding of scientific processes and enthusiasm for research are crucial when it comes to strengthening the general public’s trust in science and democracy in the long term. The future-oriented project ‘VISTA’ will make a significant contribution to this.”
“I’m looking forward to the new VISTA building,” explained Mikl-Leitner. “It will build a bridge between science and society and make everything that the scientists do here at the ISTA Campus accessible to people. In the VISTA Science Experience Center you can see that this cutting-edge research benefits everyone in Lower Austria and this shows once again: Lower Austria and the ISTA are an unbeatable team! I look forward to the opening in 2025.”
Around 1,500m2 for science education – opening in 2025
“In two years, the new VISTA Science Experience Center will open its doors on our campus in Klosterneuburg,” reports ISTA Vice President Novarino. “In addition to research itself, the promotion of scientific understanding is also firmly anchored in our founding documents. We have expanded our offerings for the population and created our own science education team, which has grown to twelve people in the last year. Now it’s time for a physical place where we can welcome the population for our activities,” said Novarino.
The new building with around 1,500m2 will be home to, among other things, an auditorium, exhibition areas, learning and maker spaces and a café. In just under two years there will be many opportunities to get in touch with science: interactive exhibitions, workshops for schools, extracurricular science clubs, lectures and discussion events. “We are also planning a unique Research Gallery: art, science, design and technology will meet there in fascinating collaborations between scientists and artists,” says Novarino.
Experience science above and below ground
Of the total area of the building, around 400m2 is above ground, plus a similarly sized covered terrace area. Additional rooms will be built underground to preserve the charm of this central space on the ISTA campus. The use of the building will be diverse: around 500m2 of exhibition space are planned, an auditorium with around 100m2 and another around 150m2 with learning and maker spaces, i.e. places to learn new things and do your own research.