CaSE Blog

The CaSE blog compiles comment and opinion from across the science and engineering policy sector.

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Four reasons why the Government needs to keep spending money on science

Cancer Research UK is the world’s largest independent cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research. Last year we spent £434 million on research in institutes, hospitals and universities across the UK, supporting research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.

Our pioneering work has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates in the UK double in the last forty years. Read More »

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Science is under threat again and we need your help!

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A message from the front-line of R&D

2,079 members responded to the union’s survey in June: A highly qualified and age diverse group, including 27% women.  Just over a third of responses came from the civil service, with a similar number from the private sector and the remainder from members in a range of other organisations including charities, research institutes, public-private partnerships and universities. Read More »

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It’s the Treasury’s season, but its dominance may not last forever

Perhaps Lord Bob Kerslake’s critical examination of the Treasury will lead to that department losing its power and preponderance – and making spending reviews like the exercise being conducted this autumn things of the past. Read More »

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Continuing to champion UK universities

London is the most popular city in the world for international students. We currently play host to 40,000 from continental Europe and 67,000 from the rest of the world. They enrich the city and country by sharing their cultures and becoming friends of Britain in ways that boost our diplomatic and trade links in future years. Read More »

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If science fights alone, it might be a losing battle

You have to talk in fiscal terms about the economic growth that science brings, and there’s plenty of evidence to back that up. It’s to make the case for investing in science, rather than in listening to the public, or thinking creatively and emotionally about what science can give us. It’s about marketing the product, rather than understanding how it was created. Read More »

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Innovation – the power of three

Seen from the ground, growth in sales and profits, rewarding careers opportunities, exploitation and dissemination of new technologies are just some of the obvious consequence of companies’ innovation efforts. And in their own words, manufacturers who participated in some recent EEF research told us why innovation matters to them…

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Science for Science’s sake

The upcoming spending review has meant that we have all had to re-examine our assumptions on this score. Ordinarily, I am a strong believer in science for science’s sake but, in really debating whether the science budget should be protected, it has become clear that there are many other reasons for doing so.

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New Policy Officer joins CaSE

I am really excited to join CaSE and the EPC to work on this project. There is growing conversation around the potential impacts of the UK leaving the EU. For example, Universities UK have initiated a campaign, Universities for Europe, and the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee have launched an inquiry into the relationship between EU membership and UK science. It will be really interesting to help inform this debate by examining the data available on the impacts that EU funding has on the UK research community. Read More »

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CaSE calls for immigration policies to support science and engineering

Today we have responded to the Migration Advisory Committee’s review of the Tier 2 visa system highlighting the need for immigration policies that support the science and engineering community.

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Tackling misconceptions of British science policy

Everyone agrees that the UK should both invest more in research and in inspiring the scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians of the future – otherwise it risks a skills shortage that will undermine our ability to compete.

But the sad reality is that the whole of Government-sponsored science is less than the sum of its parts. Read More »

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Life science organisations call on Government to invest in basic research

Almost 200 life sciences organisations – from funders to pharmaceuticals companies – have written to the Financial Times to ask the UK government to protect its investment in science in the forthcoming Spending Review. Read More »

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BP’s Ultimate STEM Challenge to inspire the scientists and engineers of the future

For the second consecutive year, BP has announced the launch of its competition – the Ultimate STEM Challenge – in partnership with STEMNET and the Science Museum. The competition is open to young people aged between 11 to 14 and will challenge them to put their Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills to the test by tackling some real-world challenges. Read More »

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More needs to be done to promote STEM apprenticeships

CaSE analysis has revealed that STEM apprenticeships have become less popular since 2011 and too few young people are choosing the vocational route into a STEM career as an alternative to higher education. STEM apprenticeships make up just under 15% of all apprenticeships, but the vast majority are in lower level engineering courses and barely any are in science and maths.

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Transformations: delving into an alternative side of science

From 18:00 on Tuesday 8 September, Bradford’s independent quarter will transform as part of this year’s British Science Festival. ‘Transformations: North Parade after dark’ promises an evening fusing science, art, music and everything in between.

The evening’s theme of transformations is fitting on many different levels. The North Parade area has undergone a recent revival and a host of new independent venues have opened with the desire to offer something different.

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Assessing the UK’s soil policy

In this International Year of Soils, there is growing recognition of the problems affecting our soils and the need to address those problems for our collective future. Certainly there is widespread concern amongst the soil science community and, I think, growing recognition of the problems amongst the farming community. But we do not yet have widespread public awareness of the value of soils or effective support amongst policy makers. We are publishing our Living Soil: a call to action report, which we hope will help to change that.

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CaSE refused information on BIS “efficiency and effectiveness review”

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills has refused to provide information to CaSE on the scope or findings of an “efficiency and effectiveness review” by business consultants, McKinsey and Company.

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STEM GCSEs increase in popularity

Data out today accompanying the GCSE results show an increase in the proportion of exam entries for STEM subjects. Unfortunately, there is also a clear gender divide, with non-compulsory STEM subjects remaining more popular with boys than with girls.

Responding to today’s results, CaSE Acting Director, Naomi Weir, said:

Congratulations to those receiving GCSE results today. It is encouraging to see increased uptake in STEM subjects and another dramatic jump in the number of students taking computing in particular.

The results also underline a long established but not widely recognised fact – that girls and boys perform equally well in science and maths subjects. It shouldn’t still have to be highlighted, but there is a persistent, and incorrect, perception in our culture of who is good at maths and physics. It is great that the numbers set the story straight.

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A-level results day: A mixed picture for STEM

A-level results are out today and the stats reveal all three core sciences have seen fewer students enter exams in 2015 despite overall entries rising compared to 2014. Maths however continues to extend its lead as the most popular subject.

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Focus on Light

The General Assembly of the United Nations has designated 2015 as the International Year of Light (IYL2015), creating a great opportunity to mark some historic milestones and celebrate scientific heroes, from Ibn al-Haytham’s early work on optics in 1015 to Charles Kao’s demonstration in 1965 of the transmission of light in optical fibres. Other anniversaries include the publication of Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism in 1865 and Einstein’s theory of general relativity in 1915.

Even more importantly, the Year of Light has set some seriously aspirational goals, which we in the UK are playing our part to pursue.

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