W5 Opens New MED-Lab Exhibition

January 10, 2019

Created in association with Almac Group, Ireland’s first attraction to explore human body unveiled

MED-Lab, a new interactive medical themed exhibition area at W5, takes visitors of all ages on an extraordinary and fun journey of discovery into the human body.

The only exhibition of its kind in Ireland, it offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the amazing systems that keep our bodies alive and, by using advanced imaging technologies, see inside the body.

MED-Lab gives us the ability to explore our bodies and enables visitors to get hands on with some intriguing interactive exhibits, learning how the scientists at Almac Group discover and develop medicines and diagnostic tests for patients globally.

This exciting new attraction has been developed by W5 in consultation with local audiences and is funded by the Inspiring Science Fund – a partnership between the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Wellcome. Additional support was awarded by the Almac Group.

The Inspiring Science Fund is a £30 million capital scheme to support science centres across the UK, helping them rethink what they do and what they offer to the public.

Eric Porter, Chair of the Odyssey Trust said: “Enhancing education and scientific knowledge, MED-Lab is an innovative and intriguing investigation into our most prized possession – our body! We are delighted to unveil the first of eight new innovative zones in W5, which we know will be hugely popular with our visitors.”

Alan Armstrong, Chairman and CEO of the Almac Group said: “It is a real privilege to be partners in such an exciting project. As a business employing over 5,000 individuals globally, our success depends on the talent and skills of our most important asset, our people, it is therefore crucial that we continue to invest in the next generation. Almac is dedicated to advancing knowledge and interest in STEM subjects and sharing our rich history and work carried out in the medicine development lifecycle for patients globally. We hope that through MED-Lab combined and with our long term STEM Outreach strategy thousands of young people will be inspired to seek out careers and realise the potential opportunities that exist across Almac.”

MED-Lab aims to enhance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) knowledge and understanding among the next generation of budding scientists through interactive learning.  It is now open to W5 visitors inviting them on an interactive and fun learning journey through the human body, with some amazing reveals such as a human bone can be four times stronger than concrete and that there are more than 100,000 Kilometres of blood vessels in the human body.  

The new exhibition completed phase one of a refurbishment which will maintain W5’s position as a world class science and discovery centre attracting tourists and people of all ages from Northern Ireland and beyond. In addition to the £1m investment provided by Almac Group, W5’s new Health and Life Sciences partner as part of a 10 year agreement, there is a £4.5m capital investment package for W5 refurbishment during 2019-2020. £3m funding was awarded through the Inspiring Science Fund and a further £1.5m invested by the Odyssey Trust.

To find out more about MED-Lab and W5 visit www.w5online.co.uk

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For more information contact Teri Kelly at [email protected] or on 07957142915 or Gary Kelly at [email protected] or on 07581282723.

Notes to editors

About W5

W5 opened on the 30th March 2001 and has attracted over 3.5 million visitors. W5 has over 250 interactive exhibits spread over five levels. The building also contains Climbit – a multi-story climbing structure, Space-base – a multi-sensory activity zone, a lecture theatre, a temporary exhibition space and ancillary facilities including a shop and café. During 2017/18 W5 attracted 270,000 visitors, which included 30,000 pupils on formal education school visits.

About Almac Group

The Almac Group is an established contract development and manufacturing organisation providing an extensive range of integrated services across the drug development lifecycle to the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors globally.

Its innovative services range from R&D, biomarker discovery development and commercialisation, API manufacture, formulation development, clinical trial supply, IRT (IVRS/IWRS) through to commercial-scale manufacture.

The international company is a privately owned organisation which has grown organically over the past five decades now employing over 5600 highly skilled personnel across 18 facilities including Europe, the US and Asia.

The company has a global reputation for excellence built over 50 years of client service, delivering expertise right across the drug development lifecycle and offering a tailored solution to each of our clients.

Inspiring Science Fund

The Inspiring Science Fund is a £30 million capital scheme to support science centres across the UK, helping them rethink what they do and what they offer to the public.

The aims of the fund are to revitalise the offer of existing science centres through capital development, such as new exhibition spaces and learning centres, and the opportunity to develop meaningful and inclusive engagement with under-served and underrepresented audiences, engaging and inspiring new visitors. This opportunity to refresh how science centres are operating will lead to more sustainable business models and contribute to science centre sector development through shared learning.

The scheme is co-funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Wellcome.


Wellcome exists to improve health by helping great ideas to thrive. We support researchers, we take on big health challenges, we campaign for better science, and we help everyone get involved with science and health research. We are a politically and financially independent foundation.


UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the new funding organisation for research and innovation in the UK, succeeded The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as co-funder of the Inspiring Science Fund in 2018. UKRI brings together the 7 UK research councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England, working closely with its partner organisations in the devolved administrations.


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