The centres, a key element in the Government's plans to improve the quality of science education in schools, will keep teachers and technicians up to date with the latest scientific advances and help them brush up on teaching skills.
The Department for Education and Skills has given pound;26m towards the scheme, with the Wellcome Trust donating pound;25m.
The pound;9m national centre, based at the University of York, will be run by Sheffield Hallam university and the White Rose consortium, a joint initiative of the universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York. It is due to open in 2005.
Five regional centres will be run by local universities and are due to open in October next year.
Sir Gareth Roberts, who chaired a review of science skills in the UK, has been appointed chair of the science learning centres' co-ordinators' group.
He said he expected it to improve retention of science teachers and improve their teaching.