THE University of York has been chosen as the base for a £9 million flagship centre aimed at inspiring teachers to bring excitement back into science.

The centre, which will open in 2005, is part of a £50m scheme which will see six other regional centres established across the country.

The centre will be at the heart of the regional network and aims to transform the training of both primary and secondary school teachers.

Professor John Holman, of the University of York, led the bid, made with the White Rose Consortium of Leeds, Sheffield and York universities, together with Sheffield Hallam University.

He said: "The quality of science education depends crucially on the supply and professional expertise of science teachers - they hold the key to motivating students towards high achievement.

"Between us we have the expertise to reconnect science teachers to the frontiers of their subject, and to help them to acquire new skills and ideas for inspired teaching.

"British science education is already excellent by international standards, but our ultimate goal is to make it the best in the world by 2015."

The new centre will include a multi-purpose laboratory, computer and video suites, and teaching rooms where teachers can take part in specially-designed courses.

High on the agenda will be cutting edge science such as the impact of genetics on reproductive methods, the controversies behind GM foods, and the quest to find extra-terrestrial life.

Teachers will be able to take part in residential and day courses, where they will be able to try out science equipment in a specialist workshop.

The whole initiative is being funded jointly by the Department for Education and Skills, and the research charity the Wellcome Trust.

The national centre will receive £13 million towards running costs over the first ten years. This figure has been boosted by an additional contribution of £1 million from the regional development agency, Yorkshire Forward.

Updated: 10:54 Thursday, October 16, 2003