The way Belfast's award-winning W5 centre is funded is unsatisfactory, according to a prominent science advisor.
A government inquiry into funding for the UK's struggling science centres was told Northern Ireland's Department for Culture Arts and Leisure had to provide deficit cash to help the charity.
But Colin Johnson, founder of the national science discovery network, said it was "not a satisfactory arrangement".
W5, at Odyssey, is a not-for- profit charity, owned by National Museums Northern Ireland.
This week an influential committee of MPs recommended the government gives centres a cash boost by introducing tax breaks.
It wants VAT on admissions reduced to 5% and 100% business rate relief for all centres to help boost their coffers.
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee also urged each centre to improve financial stability by finding more income streams, such as shop sales, charitable donations and local government.
Chairman of the Committee Phil Willis said: " During this short inquiry, we have been impressed by the range of subjects tackled by science centres, their commitment to education and public engagement, and the role they play in their local communities, despite the financial difficulties facing many of them.
"We hope that the Government will take a lead in continuing to develop further these close ties with everyone involved so the science centre sector can evolve and flourish."
The Committee believes science centres should get continued support but wants to see how effective they are at promoting interest in science.
In the Funding of Science and Discovery Centres report it recommends that until the work is carried out the government should not provide long-term financial support.
If the independent research proves they make a difference, then it wants policy on long-term funding for science centres similar to museums and galleries.