A Pioneering Community Innovation Space at Imperial College London’s White City Campus

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“The Interaction Zone represents our front door – a place where local people can begin a journey with Imperial staff and students to share in the excitement of science, making and inventing.”Professor Maggie Dallman, OBE, Vice President (International) and Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships) at Imperial


Updated Dec 2018

The Mohn Westlake Foundation is delighted to be working with Imperial College to establish and develop its Invention Rooms, a pioneering community innovation space at the college’s White City campus in West London.

The first facility of its kind in the UK, the Invention Rooms, which officially opened in October 2017, feature cutting-edge workshops, design studios and interactive spaces which allow local young people to get free hands-on experience of designing and prototyping, alongside Imperial’s staff and students.

Maker Challenge programmes are designed for 14-18 year olds who go to school in the local area and run for 12 weeks, commencing with two full Saturdays of training in ideation (generating, critiquing and developing ideas) and team-building activities. Following this, once a week after school, makers learn how to use the equipment and machines by attending courses such as woodworking, laser cutting, 3D printing, electronics and computer-aided design (CAD).

A number of other making programmes have been launched in the months since the launch of the Invention Rooms. These include the Proto Maker Challenge for children aged 11 to 14 years, which gives groups of local children the chance to join brainstorming, designing and creating, collaborating and team working sessions; the Schools Challenge Programme, providing children in schools across London with insight into how science and technology is helping to tackle the capital’s environmental challenges; and the Move On Programme, which gives graduates of the Maker Challenge an opportunity to further develop their ideas.

More than 200 children and young people have joined the making programmes since the launch of the Invention Rooms.

“The Maker Challenge has been fantastic. As it runs after school you might expect to find it tiring, but it’s so fun that I always arrived enthusiastic and excited to get going. I love engineering, and the way it makes you look at things in different ways to solve problems. This is just the first step for me.”Maddena, Maker Challenge Participant

The Foundation’s grant was pivotal in the establishment and early development of the Invention Rooms, and helped with renovating the building and creating a public engagement space, the Interaction Zone, which launched in Autumn 2018. Our support has also enabled the Reach Out Makerspace and Advanced Hackspace facilities to be fully-equipped with the latest technology; the recruitment of community and technical staff; and the launch of a community enterprise scheme to encourage entrepreneurial activity.

For more information on Imperial College's Invention Rooms, please visit their website: 

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