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A Few of Our Favorite Things: 2023

This is the time of year when greatest songs/albums/movies/etc. lists are all the rage. While this list isn’t exhaustive (or in any particular order), the below activities definitely count as some of the Science Center’s greatest moments of 2023.

The Nucleus Awards

Celebrating 60 years of scientific innovation, the Science Center honored the work of Daniel M. Skovronsky, M.D., Ph.D., Margaret Berger Bradley, Sheila D. Ireland and Sulaiman W. Rahman during our annual Nucleus Awards, presented by CSL. All four individuals have demonstrated leadership in fostering a more innovative, collaborative, and equitable future.


Students participating in our Firsthand program gained real world, hands-on experience and connection to the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem in Philadelphia. The year culminated in a series of showcases during which they created, tested, and designed biodegradable polymers while learning what it means to be a scientist.

Spring 2023 Cybersecurity Sprint cohort and Navy mentors, JT, Steven, and Tristan


Building an Understanding of Lab Basics (BULB) program connects Philadelphians to STEM training that teaches the skills sought after in Philadelphia's growing life sciences industry. One of this year’s highlights was a chance to hear from cell and gene therapy company, WuXi AppTec learning about the challenges and opportunities within the industries. Utilizing space at CIC labs, they also had a chance to role of up their sleeves in the lab isolating wild and mutant type Drosophila DNA and running a gel electrophoresis.

BULB Dec 2023 graduates with Workforce Development program director Phil Brooks and program coordinator Felicia Jones

Venture Café Philadelphia

Venture Café Philadelphia celebrated its 5th anniversary this year! It is here that valuable resources, impactful programming, and the opportunity for hundreds of serendipitous connections every week. Since the first Thursday Gathering 5 years ago, Venture Café has welcomed over 34,000 guests to 815 sessions led by more than 1,800 speakers.

Future of Neighborhoods

What do safer, healthier, more sustainable neighborhoods look like? Venture Café explored the topic across multiple Thursday Gatherings in 2023, featuring insights from grass roots organizations and community advocates centered around innovation, collaboration, and health equity. Continuing into 2024, the series will culminate with the exhibition Futures Without Guns, an exhibition featuring nine artists envisioning the possibilities for a future free from gun violence.

Proof Positive

Proof Positive is designed to help entrepreneurs identify and understand their target market and the needs of their potential customers. The second cohort wrapped up with its final session that featured founder presentations on lessons learned throughout the four-week program.

Proof Positive July 2023 cohort session

Capital Readiness Program

The Capital Readiness Program (CRP) prepares startups on how to raise their first round of investment from institutional investors. There were three cohorts in 2023 with the last one held in December. Twelve companies heard from experts covering IP, regulatory and compliance, HR and other topics critical to startup success. Companies participating in this year’s program have raised $7.8M dollars in capital to support their businesses.

Erika Dillard, Founder and CEO of PopCheck Technologies and Capital Readiness Program participant

Supporting the Science Center

These highlights, and all Science Center programming, are offered for free thanks to the generosity of our donors. Your gift helps to sustain the Science Center as we work toward a more equitable future for all.

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