Science and engineering are fields that everyone can and should be encouraged to explore, without exception. Our campaign puts accessibility and equality in the spotlight, examining the current state of ethnic diversity, gender equality and provisions for those with disabilities across sectors engaged with science and engineering, as well as reporting and scrutinising measures being introduced to secure opportunities for all within these sectors.

Here you will find blogs, reports, briefings and consultations on Diversity. To see only CaSE reports, briefings and consultations, use the button to the right.

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.

The new numbers show that for every 10 boys taking AS-level physics, there are only three girls, whereas for biology there are 15 girls for every 10 boys. For chemistry it is almost gender-balanced with equal numbers of boys and girls taking the subject at AS-level. Maths, like physics, also has a lower representation of girls, with seven for every 10 boys, and it gets worse for further maths, with only four girls for every 10 boys. The national average for all AS-level subjects, including the sciences, is slightly tipped in favour of girls, with 13 girls taking AS-levels for every 10 boys.

AS-level gender proportionsThe findings replicate the IoP’s own research that found very poor uptake of physics among girls, especially in co-educational state schools.

The Ofsted numbers reveal fewer girls go on to study physics at A-level as well. 57% of girls continue to the higher level compared to 71% of boys. The follow-on rate for other sciences is roughly equal for girls and boys, but maths sees fewer girls continue with their studies: 70% of girls continue compared to 79% of boys.

A-level progressionI should also point out that there are pretty big gender imbalances in non-STEM subjects too: there are three girls for every boy studying sociology and five girls for every two boys studying English. The IoP published a report in 2013 that found that schools with a gender imbalance in physics tend to have imbalances in other subjects too, suggesting that it is the environment, rather than unavoidable inherant preferences among pupils, affecting subject choice.

CaSE published a report last year on diversity in STEM, which amongst other things looked at gender imbalances in school subjects and discussed how teachers and parents can (often unwittingly) influence pupils choices in a negative way. It’s great that Ofsted are now publishing national statistics on gender balance and we hope that schools and Ofsted will do everything they can to ensure children do not feel deterred from studying whatever subjects they want at AS and A-level.

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CaSE kicks off the election year with a debate and a call for action

The sold-out CaSE cross-party debate, kindly hosted by the Royal Society tonight, brings together the science spokespeople from the three main Westminster parties to discuss the future direction of science and engineering in the UK. 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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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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Diversity in STEM and the Women In Space resource

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Addressing the Gender Balance in Northern Ireland

The STEM Business group in Northern Ireland recently launched a report called ‘Addressing Gender Balance- Reaping the Gender Dividend in Science, Technology Engineering and Maths’. Read More »

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Diversity and Science – WiSET

The WiSET team within the Centre for Science Education at Sheffield Hallam University have been addressing the barriers in science (and technology, engineering, maths and built environment) for under-represented groups, particularly women, over a number of years. Read More »

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CaSE welcomes launch of Race Equality Charter Mark

CaSE welcomes today’s launch of the Equality Challenge Unit’s race equality charter mark national trial. Indeed one of the key recommendations from our recent report, ‘Improving Diversity in STEM’ was that universities should proactively engage with the Equality Challenge Unit’s Race Equality Charter Mark, using it as a framework to uncover and address any barriers to access and progression for staff and students from an ethnic minority group. So we are pleased to see this recommendation so broadly adopted. Read More »

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New CaSE report: Improving diversity in STEM

A new CaSE report, Improving Diversity in STEM, shows that diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is much needed, but by all measures progress is too slow. Read More »

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Overcoming obstacles for women in science

CaSE responds to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee Report on Women in Scientific Careers.

CaSE welcomes the Committee’s report and urges Government and universities to be ambitious in their response.

After decades of effort aimed at improving diversity in the scientific workforce, women still remain under-represented at professorial levels in academia across every scientific discipline. The Government, universities and the science sector need to act now to ensure a similar report in five years’ time can celebrate significant progress. Read More »

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CaSE cross-party debate summary

In October, CaSE brought together the science spokespeople from each of the main political parties to debate the future direction of science and engineering in the UK. The event, kindly hosted by the Royal Society and chaired by Pallab Ghosh, gave us the opportunity to hear from each party on issues ranging from the use of scientific advice in Government through to research funding and matters around diversity in science and engineering. Read More »

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Watch the CaSE Cross-Party Debate

Last Wednesday saw CaSE bring together the science spokespeople from the three main Westminster parties to debate the future direction of science and engineering in the UK. Read More »

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Inspiring girls to take up STEM

Once again, this year’s A level and GCSE results show that girls are good at science. Of those that took STEM subjects, girls were more likely than boys to get a top grade. The challenge is to get more girls to choose science, maths and technology – especially when they make choices at 16, in order to increase the pipeline of female talent entering the STEM workforce. Read More »

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She figures 2012 – Is progress being made?

Last week She Figures for 2012 were released by the European Commission. Published every three years, they provide a wealth of data on the gender breakdown at different levels, and in different sectors, within research and innovation. The numbers bring mixed news, with hints of progress largely obscured by the depressing reality of the widespread underrepresentation of women in research, particularly in STEM fields.

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Here come the girls

The UK Business Secretary, Vince Cable, last week suggested that more women should go into engineering to help solve the skills shortage.  He highlighted the vital role that women represent in engineering and the need to shift the mindset and reputation the industry has about engineering being a ‘dirty hands’ business suitable only for men.

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New STEM Disability website launched

This week sees the launch of two projects aimed at removing barriers for disabled people in science and engineering.

The STEM Disability Committee, of which CaSE is a founding member, launched its new website. The site is set to become the sector’s main resource and portal for people studying or working in science and engineering.

CaSE director Imran Khan also opened a special event at the Royal Academy of Engineering, where a a new set of British Sign Language signs developed for the STEM curriculum were launched.

Speaking at the launch, Khan commented:

“The UK is going to need smart and driven scientists and engineers – and lots of them. We need to be including as many children as possible in science at school, and hopefully this BSL project will help take down some of the barriers which exist right now.”

“We’re still in the early days of really tackling the disability agenda in science, and hopefully the new website will be a big part of our efforts in the future. The resources on there should mean that there are fewer people who have to reinvent the wheel when working, or studying, in our sector.”

“The science and engineering sector wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for taxpayer support, so it’s crucial that our institutions improve accessibility for everyone.”

The STEM Disability Committee’s members are the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering, Society of Biology, Royal Society of Chemistry, Institute of Physics, and CaSE. It was first formed in 2010, after a call for action from CaSE.

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MPs debate women in STEM

The hurdles facing women in science were addressed by MPs in the House of Commons yesterday, as part of an adjournment debate organised by Valerie Vaz MP. Ms Vaz called on the Government to heed CaSE’s recommendation that a strategy and specific targets for increasing inclusion should be developed by the Government.

Attended by the Universities and Science Minister David Willetts, the debate touched on a number of issues across the diversity agenda, including subject take-up at school, employment opportunities, and research career structures for women. Read More »

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New briefing: Socioeconomic Diversity in STEM

Read the new briefing here: Socioeconomic Diversity in STEM, as well as coverage in the Times Higher Education.

Access to science and engineering, whether through employment or simply understanding and engagement, should by the same for everyone. At CaSE, we also believe that improved social diversity leads to a more innovative and responsive science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) workforce. With the price of Higher Education rising, it is especially important to ensure that social background does not effect opportunities to pursue STEM study. Access to STEM – and all – subjects should be entirely merit-based.

Unfortunately, lower socioeconomic status may still be a barrier to STEM education. In a new report (see full version here), we used data collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), to investigate the socioeconomic diversity of UK students taking STEM degrees between 2004 and 2010. We’ve summarised our findings below.

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CaSE response to Liberal Democrat science policy review

The following is CaSE’s submission to the Liberal Democrat science policy review, dated 20th February 2012. You can access a PDF version of the submission here.


Dear Julian,

Thank you for your letter of 31st January 2012 inviting CaSE to contribute to your update of Liberal Democrat science policy. I have enclosed some of our reflections on the current state of UK science policy in the three keys areas you identified – money, people, and science in policy as well as recommendations which we hope your party will be able to implement in Government and for your next manifesto. I hope they are of use to you.

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Women in SET; remaining challenges

The challenge of the leaky pipeline in SET – employment rates and “attrition”


In 2008, there were 620 thousand female STEM graduates of working age in the UK, but 70.2 per cent of these were not using their SET qualifications to work in SET occupations because they were working in non-SET occupations, inactive, or unemployed. In 2006/07, twice the proportion of men graduating with undergraduate qualifications in STEM entered SET professional or associate professional occupations (41.8 per cent) compared with women (21.0 per cent). Moreover, male graduates who enter SET occupations are much more likely to enter at higher levels than women – six months after graduation, there are clear signs of a gendered labour market and of gendered choice amongst graduates.

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