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Armagh Observatory and Planetarium

Project support and advice for an educational, research and tourism initiative

Project Description

Armagh Observatory and Planetarium (AOP) is renowned as a Centre of Excellence for research, education, inspiration and outreach in space and science – a unique organisation where research, education, history and heritage come together in one place. In 2016, following the amalgamation of the Observatory and the Planetarium into a single entity, the then Minister established a strong, ambitious and outward looking Vision for AOP:

To develop a world class Planetarium excelling in education and outreach alongside a world class Research Institute that will be envied throughout the world.  This will build on the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium’s unique heritage to make it a “must visit” destination for local, national and international visitors and students.  Armagh Observatory and Planetarium will play a leading role in scientific vision and outreach, helping to develop the STEM agenda across our society, being a top visitor attraction in the North and nurturing a new generation of young people excited by the possibilities that science brings.

Since 2017 SIB has supported Armagh Observatory and Planetarium (AOP) on a journey of growth and transformation through a series of initiatives aimed at improving organisational resilience, viability and financial sustainability, while at the same time helping to deliver the Minister’s vision. Specifically, SIB has supported:

  • 2017 Delivering a whole life cost analysis for AOP’s land and property holdings
  • 2018 Drafting a Strategic Outline Business Case (SOC)
  • 2018 Establishing a local collaboration forum
  • 2019 Securing approval on the Strategic Outline Business Case (SOC)
  • 2019 Developing a National Lottery Heritage Fund bid
  • 2019 Delivering a market opportunity analysis
  • 2019 Delivering an income generation and commercialisation review
  • 2019 Delivering a series of pre-Outline Business Case (OBC) activities as agreed with the department
  • 2020 Developing AOP’s Peace Plus expression of interest

Project Status

The Strategic Outline Business Case (SOC) has been approved. AOP is awaiting confirmation of formal project status and departmental clearance to progress to an Outline Business Case (OBC).

SIB Involvement

SIB has acted as a trusted partner and adviser to AOP over the last three years, making available specialist commercial, legal and technical skills. Throughout this period SIB staff have provided both constructive challenge and support to the Chief Executive and Chair of AOP as well as supporting departmental engagement – ultimately readying AOP for transformative investment.


For further information contact:

Ronan O’Hara

E: Ronan.O’Hara@sibni.org

Armagh Observatory and Planetarium