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Election campaigns underway to choose the next Chair of the S&T Committee

If you thought election fever was over, think again. The halls of Westminter are abuzz as the race begins to choose who will lead the this Parliament’s powerful Select Committees. But don’t worry, it’s just MPs that have to vote this time, although you can contact your MP and try to influence their vote if you wish.

The number of Select Committees each party will Chair is based on the total number of MPs they have. So Conservatives have been given 14 Chairs, Labour have 10, and the SNP get two. The parties themselves then wrangle over which of the 26 committees up for grabs their party will Chair. Of greatest interest to us, the Conservatives have got the Science and Technology Committee Read More »

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How Science and Engineering is Represented in the new Parliament

With the official opening of Parliament, the dust has settled after the general election and MPs must get back to business. We think it is time to take a look at the changes to the representation of science and engineering in the House of Commons, as it is imperative that there is still a body of support for this vital sector.

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Why champion science and engineering? asks Andrew Miller

If you are a new Member of Parliament you will already have discovered that life in the House is not quite what you imagined. You will be trying to cope with a mountain of casework whilst not having had the time to appoint staff, sorting out domestic and office accommodation on an inadequate budget, meeting all the commitments made during the election and not least, trying to find out how the arcane rules of the House actually work! These are just a few of the challenges you are facing so what am I doing trying to get you to do something else? Read More »

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A new briefing on why the new government should champion science and engineering

Why champion science and engineeringIf you are a regular reader of this website I expect you already know and appreciate the incredible contribution science and engineering makes to the UK’s economic prosperity and public wellbeing. But with a new government now up and running and a parliament full of new and returned MPs, there is a new audience to engage with.

So today we have launched a “micro-briefing” to highlight how championing science and engineering can help support a strong economy, create high-value jobs, and help us all live healthier and happier lives. Read More »

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The Northern Powerhouse now has a Minister, or two!

2015 General Election - CabinetJames Wharton has been appointed as the Minister responsible for the Northern Powerhouse, the Government’s initiative to strengthen the economy in the North of England. Read More »

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New stats reveal more needs to be done to encourage girls to study physics and maths

The schools regulator Ofsted has just published statistics on pupils progressing onto AS levels and then to A-levels, broken down by gender and subject. This is the first time this has been brought together for England as a whole and follows recommendations by the Institute of Physics (IoP) that schools should monitor their rates and compare them to national averages. Read More »

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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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