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The next crop of MPs must be more statistically literate than the last

In 2012, MPs elected for the current parliamentary term were asked a simple question about the probability of flipping a coin and getting two heads in a row. The correct answer, as I’m sure you know, is 25%.

Not everybody needs to be a maths whiz, and not everybody has an interest in statistics and probabilities. But when it comes to the women and men elected to run the country, who make decisions on billion pound budgets and hold government to account, it is surely reasonable to expect they have a basic grasp of the numbers. Read More »

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Latest ONS figures bring good and bad news for government investment in R&D

CaSE’s analysis shows the proportion of government spending invested in UK R&D has been decreasing since 2003, putting us below international averages and competitor nations. In 2003 1.37% of total government spending went on R&D. In 2013 this figure had dropped to 1.18%, or £8.4 billion.

We’ve analysed new figures released by the Office for National Statistics on Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (GERD). The stats show that GERD rose 5% in real-terms in 2013, reaching an all-time high of £28.9 billion. However, this equals 1.67% of GDP, a slight increase from 2012 but still below the European average of 2% and far lower than in the past. The government’s contribution to the UK’s total R&D spend was 0.49% of GDP. Read More »

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Prevent, transform, cure – putting people with arthritis at the heart of the election

There are around ten million people living in the UK with a musculoskeletal condition, of which there are many variations, ranging from the most common, osteoarthritis, to less prevalent conditions such as lupus.

What unites all of these conditions is the pain that they can cause and the impact that they can have on the people that have them, making it harder for them to do the things that so many of us take for granted- going to work, meeting friends, spending time with family. Read More »

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Evidence Matters

Using reliable evidence honestly and effectively is crucial to making policy in the public interest – while its misuse means that opportunities for improving social outcomes are missed.

With the general election less than three months away, politicians and the media will bombard us with claim and counter-claim about the best ways to reduce crime, educate our children and care for the vulnerable – but how can the electorate know what to believe? Ask for Evidence is a new tool developed by Sense About Science for the public to hold politicians, commentators and others to account for how they use evidence – helping to sort policy claims that are backed by evidence from those that aren’t. Read More »

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Building a Stronger Future – National Academies

This Spring will see UK citizens go to the polls and exercise their right to choose who governs the country. The last election saw the formation of the first coalition government since the Second World War, and we do not yet know what 2015 will bring. These are uncertain times. Read More »

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Returners to Bioscience

The UK is facing a skills shortage. Everyone is saying it – from David Cameron to Paul Nurse – but what can we do about it? One potential source of talent lies within the so-called ‘returners’ community; those who have taken extended career breaks but often face difficulties in trying to return to work. Read More »

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The looming skills deficit

Nearly 60 per cent of employers are concerned they will be unable to recruit the engineering skills and talent their business needs, according to our new skills survey. But, it is not only engineering employers who should be worried about the looming skills crisis. So serious is the scale of the problem that, if it continues, the UK’s future economic prosperity could be at risk. Read More »

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Concerning the Scottish curriculum

The Scottish Parliament’s Education Committee is reviewing progress on the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), the transformative programme for 3 to 18 education in Scotland. Because the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) Education Committee works to identify and promote priorities for education in Scotland at all levels, it has been involved in monitoring and responding to CfE. Read More »

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CaSE 2014 Annual Lecture – A Journey to Mars

By Nancy Williams, CaSE Intern

On Friday night Dr Ellen Stofan, NASA’s Chief Scientist, gave the Campaign for Science and Engineering’s 24th Annual Distinguished Lecture.

In front of a packed IMAX theatre at the Science Museum, Ellen took us through some of the extraordinary advances in science, technology and engineering resulting from exploration of space, and the challenges even now being worked on by scientists across the world driven by NASA’s journey to Mars. Read More »

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Charities at the heart of UK medical research

Medical research charities exist to support research that will help us to understand the condition or develop treatments to help people affected.

This support is not insignificant. AMRC member charities fund over a third of publicly funded research in the UK, spending £1.3bn in 2013. This is in large part down to the generosity of the UK public who make medical research their most popular charitable cause.

 

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World-class skills for world-class engineering

They may have different views on how to achieve it, but all three main political parties agree that developing world-class infrastructure in the UK is vital in enabling both job creation and economic prosperity.

With that however, comes a challenge. If we want world class infrastructure, we need a world class workforce to deliver it. The numbers speak for themselves – the UK will need around 87,000 engineers, per year, over the next ten years to meet current demand.

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The Data Manifesto: Improving data for policy making, democracy and prosperity

CASE has recently launched important briefings in the run up to the next election including a call for a 10-year plan for government spending on research and development that exceeds growth and aims to reach current investment levels in Germany and the United States. The Financial Times in a recent editorial has also indicated that it would be preferable to invest in the UK’s science base than to have tax cuts, if there is any cash to spare in the next Parliament.

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Revitalising primary science

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Diversity in STEM and the Women In Space resource

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What will the referendum mean for science and engineering?

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Research funding and the Scottish referendum

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Making the case for skills

Lord Baker calls it ‘The Skills Mismatch’, Lord Adonis ‘The Fractured Economy’ and now The Prince’s Trust has coined ‘The Skills Crunch’, but whichever snappy name grabs your attention they all boil down to the same thing: Britain is struggling to align its education system with the skill needs of the economy. Read More »

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Help shape the BIS Science and Innovation Strategy

The new Science and Innovation Strategy, which will be published later this year, is an important deliverable for government, because it will set out how we ensure UK capabilities remain world-leading while at the same time contributing to economic growth and scientific excellence.

Science and innovation are key drivers of economic growth and jobs in the UK: for every £1 we spend on research, 50p is generated for the economy each year thereafter. Read More »

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Greater ambition needed for science and engineering

It is great to see the Liberal Democrats recognising the integral role that a healthy science base plays in supporting and growing innovative businesses. Today’s announcement proposes continuing to ringfence the science budget throughout the next Parliament and is a welcome first step. Read More »

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CaSE responds to 2014 GCSE Results

This year sees many changes to the GCSE system including the addition of the Further Additional Science qualification and changes to school accountability measures driving behaviour change. The changes make it difficult to unpick precisely what today’s results mean for science. Equally, the figures out today highlight the increasingly complex nature of the options for studying science facing schools, teachers and students. Read More »

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