Author Archives: Beck Smith

CaSE reaction to 2013 GCSE results

Science GCSEs are changing

Today’s results reflect the complex set of options that students and schools face in science education at GCSE level.  We are in a transitional stage which must be difficult to navigate.

Among the options for a science education are Science and Advanced Science (worth 2 GCSEs if both are taken or 1 for Science alone); single subject sciences of Biology, Physics and Chemistry; International GCSEs, which appear to be preferred by some independent schools and academies.  To further complicate matters, this is the first year of examinations for the new Science and Advanced Science syllabus which is intended to be more demanding. Read More »

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Students choose science – CaSE reacts to 2013 A-level results


The Campaign for Science and Engineering welcomes the continued rise in the number of students choosing to study science and maths subjects at A-level.  This upward trend over the last five years has seen increases in both the absolute number of students taking sciences and maths as well as the ‘market share’ of the total.  The sciences and maths stand out as the only subjects seeing significant growth against a background of decline in A-level student numbers.

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August Round-up

CaSE has published its August 2013 e-bulletin, giving a summary of all CaSE’s activities and news over the last month. These include:

  • CaSE met with the Universities and Science Minister David Willetts where we discussed issues such as the results of the recent Spending Review, the STEM skills pipelines and capital spending on large infrastructure projects.
  • The CaSE 2013 Annual Lecture will be given by the EU Chief Scientific Advisor, Professor Anne Glover on 22nd october 2013. Tickets will be available to CaSE members on 26th August and to the general public on 2nd September.
  • CaSE has published its Annual Review for 2012/13.  It gives a summary of CaSE’s activities over the year, including meetings with ministers, policy consultations, events and campaign achievements.

You can sign up for our monthly e-bulletin here.

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Vacancy: Assistant Director

Vacancy: Assistant Director

Central London. £30-36k p/a pro rata – 0.8 – 1.0 FTE

After almost two years, our current Assistant Director Beck Smith is leaving CaSE.  She said:

“I’m sorry to be leaving such a brilliant organisation, but I’m sure that CaSE is only going to go from strength to strength with Sarah as its new Director.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at CaSE and have learnt so much.

However, I am delighted to be joining the Shadow Universities and Science Minister Shabana Mahmood’s team as a Senior Policy Advisor focusing on science policy.   It’s going to be a hugely exciting time and I can’t wait to get started.”

CaSE Director, Dr Sarah Main said:

“We are very sorry to be losing our hugely talented and enthusiastic Assistant Director, Beck Smith.  Beck has led on CaSE policy for the last two years and has made substantial contributions to research funding and innovation policy. She ably steered the organisation as Acting Director between March and June this year.  Beck will be greatly missed at CaSE.  However, I am delighted for her that she is moving on to an exciting new era in her career as a senior policy advisor.”

Full details about the role of Assistant Director and how to apply are below.

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CaSE pays tribute to former Director Nick Dusic

We at the Campaign for Science and Engineering are devastated to learn of the death of the former Director of CaSE, Nick Dusic, at the age of 34.  Nick was Director of CaSE from 2007 to 2010 and was well loved by those who worked with him here.  He had been suffering from Burkitt’s Lymphoma.

Past and present members of the CaSE staff and Board who knew and worked with Nick have contributed their thoughts and memories.

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Will you call on the Government to increase research funding?

In September of 2010, a grassroots group of concerned scientists and science supporters – Science is Vitalsprang into being and joined forces with CaSE to campaign to stave off threats to the research budget. With the UK’s excellent science and engineering reputation already running on less funding compared to many of our competitors, rumours of cuts in the neighbourhood of 20% or more meant the stakes were high. Our message was simple: healthy science and innovation is a vital component of a strong economy.

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CaSE responds to the 2013 Budget

“Campaigners welcome government support for research, but insist more must be done”

The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) welcomes the announcement in today’s Budget of the expansion of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) – something we called for in our 4Growth campaign – and an expansion of the R&D tax credit scheme.

However, a new analysis published yesterday by CaSE shows that the shortfall in research capital, which stood at nearly £1.7bn following the 2010 Spending Review had now been reduced to just over £300m.  Today’s Budget leaves this shortfall unchanged.

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Research investment welcome, but we need to aim higher

“Additional commitments reduce shortfall in research capital, but we need to aim higher”

New analysis by CaSE shows that the £1.7bn shortfall in research capital the Research Base Budget faced following the 2010 Spending Review (SR10) has been reduced to just over £330m following a string of additional commitments.

CaSE’s paper (Public Funding of UK Science and Engineering – March 2013 update) shows that additional commitments to research capital now total over £1350m.

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Willetts allocates Autumn Statement funding to ‘eight great technologies’

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts

Today’s speech by the Universities and Science Minister allocates just over £460m of the £600m allocated to science in the Autumn Statement to the ‘eight great technologies’ the Chancellor outlined in his speech at the Royal Society last year. Read More »

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Who will be the next Shadow Science Minister?

Changes to the Labour front bench, announced this afternoon, have left the position of Shadow Science Minister temporarily vacant.

Chi Onwurah MP has moved from the BIS team to join the Cabinet Office team where she will be leading on cyber security, social entrepreneurship, civil contingency, open government and transparency.

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Lord Heseltine speech, CaSE Annual Lecture 2012

Speech by Lord Heseltine to the Campaign for Science and Engineering, Science Museum IMAX Theatre, 27th November 2012. Sponsored by Airbus and EADS

“Industrial Strategy”

John Russell: Campaign for Science and Engineering: Annual Lecture with Lord Heseltine &emdash;

Thank you for inviting me and it is a pleasure to be here. Read More »

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Science advice to MPs spared budget cut

It’s good news for the future of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST).  It was feared at the beginning of the month, as part of a savings programme being introduced across the House of Commons, that the office was facing a 17% cut in its budget by 2014/15.

In response to the news of a potential budget cuts CaSE organised a letter, signed by leading figures from the science and engineering policy community, warning that potential budget cuts to POST threaten the quality of scientific advice in Westminster.

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Government R&D hit by disproportionate cuts

Whitehall departments have cut their research and development (R&D) budgets disproportionately, a new CaSE investigation has found – despite suggestions that such spending would be protected.

Read exclusive coverage in the Financial Times.

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CaSE responds to A-level results

The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) welcomes another year of good news for science and maths A-levels.  All of the main science and maths subjects are now in the top 10, with increases in both actual student numbers and in the ‘market share’ of overall A-level entries held by these subjects.

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House of Lords reform – what next for expertise?

Yesterday’s announcement that plans to reform the House of Lords were being “paused” didn’t come as a surprise.  The blocking of the time tabling motion necessary to deliver the Bill meant that huge amounts of Parliamentary time could have been spent on it, something the Coalition was keen to avoid.

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New Government Chief Scientific Adviser Appointed

The Government today announced the appointment of Sir Mark Walport as the new Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA).  Sir Mark is currently the Director of the Wellcome Trust.

He will take up the position on 1 April 2013 replacing the current GCSA, Professor Sir John Beddington, who has served in the post since January 2008, and who CaSE held good relations with. Professor Beddington gave the 2009 CaSE Annual Distinguished Lecture on ‘Science in Government: Challenges for the 21st Century’.

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Science lesson reforms leave campaigners bemused

“Teaching pupils to think and work scientifically should be at the heart of science education”

The Campaign for Science and Engineering has reacted with bemusement at new Government plans to shift focus away from the scientific method in science lessons.

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House of Lords Reform and Expertise

With promises from all three of the major political parties, and the subsequent Coalition Government, House of Lords reform is firmly on the agenda.  This is an important and rare opportunity so it’s been disappointing to see the debate quickly descend into a political bun fight.

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The role of expertise in the House of Lords

With reform on the political agenda now is the time for the science and engineering community to ask not only it feels the role of a reformed House should be, but also if the current representation and use of expertise could be improved.

The role of expertise in the House of Lords will be addressed in a report from CaSE, due to be published at the end of the month.  As part of this work CaSE held a meeting to discuss the proposed reforms with Lord Willis (member of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee), James Wilsdon (Professor of Science and Democracy at SPRU, University of Sussex) and Baroness Finlay (clinical academic at the Cardiff University and the Velindre Cancer Centre) on the panel.

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HEFCE announces 2012-13 allocation

Yesterday HEFCE announced an allocation of £5.3 billion to universities and colleges in England for 2012-13, plus additional ring-fenced allocations of £80 million and tuition fees loans (via BIS) of £3.6 billion – a total of £9.5 billion.  This is an increase of £200 million on the 2011-12 allocation of £9.3 billion.

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