THE Oxfordshire entrepreneur who helped invent the MRI scanner cheered with joy as ground was broken on his multi-million pound new science education centre.

Sir Martin Wood, founder of Oxford Instruments, was joined by his wife Lady Audrey for the ceremony at Stansfeld Park in Headington on Wednesday.

When it is complete, the site will be home to the Wood Centre for Innovation – a new hub for scientific start-up businesses – as well as 'the UK’s first integrated indoor-outdoor education centre dedicated to primary-aged children'.

The development, hidden away in 18 acres of woodland next to Oxford Eastern Bypass, is the latest ambitious project by The Oxford Trust, founded by Sir Martin and Lady Audrey, and its spin-off educational charity Science Oxford.

The Science Oxford Education Centre, it is promised, will 'create and deliver exciting, curiosity-based activities that combine natural and physical sciences'.

Explaining its vision, the trust said: "We want to develop the UK’s first indoor-outdoor science education centre specifically for primary-aged children, their teachers, and families; a centre that will provide quality, experiential hands-on science.

"The surrounding 18-acre urban wildspace will be a beautiful and ideal environment in which young people will be able to explore the natural world and physical play to learn about environmental science and biodiversity, and to bring scientific enquiry and problem-solving out of the classroom and into the great outdoors.

"This will make our science education centre the only one in the UK with joined up indoor-outdoor STEM provision, designed with primary schools at the heart."

That program will be funded by the Wood Centre next door – 25,000sq ft of 'innovation' space for entrepreneurs, start-up and 'grow-on' companies 'working in the knowledge-intensive areas of science and technology'.

The centre will be twinned with the trust's existing Oxford Centre for Innovation next to Oxford Castle.

It will also have a café and theatre which will be available for corporate events, shows, demonstrations and talks.

Both centres are due to open in Spring 2019.