A generous donation from the Mohn Westlake Foundation will support outreach, innovation, and community engagement in White City.
The transformative gift of £2M will be directed to The Invention Rooms, a new community innovation space being developed by Imperial College London in White City. The Invention Rooms will focus on ‘making’, allowing people of all ages and backgrounds to turn their creative ideas into real working prototypes using advanced technology, alongside Imperial staff, students, alumni and partners.
The Invention Rooms will include workshops, design studios and an interaction zone, transforming a former office building on Wood Lane into a welcoming space where the local community can interact with the College at its new White City Campus. The Foundation’s gift will provide additional funding needed to complete the refurbishments to the highest specifications, and will contribute significantly to an ongoing programme of outreach, entrepreneurship activities and public events, which will be designed in collaboration with the community. The Invention Rooms will open in autumn 2017 with a new ‘maker challenge’ programme aimed at local children and young people.
This wonderful gift will help us nurture the talent and creativity of children, young people and their families in this neighbourhood
– Professor Maggie Dallman
Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships)
A unique project in the UK, The Invention Rooms will enable members of the local community to engage with science, invention and entrepreneurship in new ways, and gain first-hand experience of how innovation at Imperial is addressing major global challenges.
As part of The Invention Rooms, Imperial is creating a Reach Out Makerspace – a workshop and design studio where children and young people can get hands-on experience of prototyping, from wearable technology to household gadgets. By taking part in creative activities at the Makerspace, children will develop new skills, learn about innovation and grow in confidence.
The Invention Rooms will also provide a new base for the Imperial College Advanced Hackspace – a 2,000-strong network of inventors and entrepreneurs from within the College’s student and staff body. The state-of-the-art facility will provide specialist prototyping and fabrication equipment, including robotics and 3D printing technology, as well as a bio-lab, which enables synthetic biology and molecular fabrication.
Meanwhile, a vibrant interaction zone in the building will provide a welcoming venue for public events, where local people and College partners can connect with science and Imperial’s research.
White City is a dynamic part of London, but it does face challenges. Imperial has made a long-term commitment to help bring about positive change in partnership with the local community. The Invention Rooms will harness local aspirations, talent and skills, creating an entry point through which members of the public can see science come to life.
Professor Maggie Dallman, Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships) at Imperial College London said: “Imperial has an opportunity to bring something new and empowering to a diverse and enterprising community, of which we are proud to now be an integral part. This wonderful gift from the Mohn Westlake Foundation will enable us to fully realise our ambitions for the space, helping us to nurture the talent and creativity of children, young people and their families in this neighbourhood.”
Founders of the Mohn Westlake Foundation, Mrs Marit Mohn and her son Stian Westlake, have a history of supporting education and community development in West London, and through their family’s philanthropy have supported several mentoring and training programmes for vulnerable young people. Alumna Marit Mohn (MSc Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology 1973) is one of the College’s most prominent donors, and has given over £2M to education and outreach at Imperial in previous years. Her generous gifts have supported school’s programmes at The Wohl Reach Out Lab, enabled refurbishment of the Central Library, provided laboratory equipment in the Department of Chemical Engineering, and created the Marit Mohn PhD Scholarship in Chemical Engineering.
Heather Williamson, Director of Principal Gifts at Imperial College London said: “The continued generosity of Marit Mohn and her family has had a profound impact on the College and the communities we work alongside. We are deeply grateful for their ongoing support and delighted to be partnering with them to realise the full potential of The Invention Rooms.”
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