A new “world-class” gallery space is to be created at the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester after a £1.8m grant from the Wellcome Trust.

The investment, by the Trust’s Capital Awards scheme, will allow the museum to convert its 1830 buildings – which include the first ever railway warehouse and the oldest surviving passenger station – into a venue for exhibitions “that will inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers”.

MOSI in Manchester

MOSI in Manchester

With over 90% of the project now funded, the museum will begin its search in May for a design team to create the new space. The Treasury has already pledged £3.8m towards the project.

The museum says the gallery – which is forecast to open in 2018 – will breathe life into the lower end of the museum site. Over 700,000 visit the museum annually.

Director Sally MacDonald said: “We are thrilled! This support from the Wellcome Trust means we can realise our ambition to become the northern home for cutting-edge, interactive contemporary science exhibitions, to inspire the scientists and inventors of tomorrow.

“We will be working closely with the Trust and other partners to create exhibitions that will launch in Manchester and then tour internationally, showcasing our collections, our historic site and the city’s vibrant scientific research.”