At a time when scientific authority is both in high demand and hotly contested, the relationships between science advice, evidence, expertise and policy have been magnified by debates over what should succeed the Millennium Development Goals. Read More
Tag Archives: Guest Article
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
A few months ago, Education for Engineering (E4E), the body representing the professional engineering community on education and skills matters, published the first in a series of reports on pupils’ participation and attainment in science and mathematics qualifications at key stage 4 in England.
The first report, entitled ‘Opportunity or Ability?’, examined national and regional GCSE results, as well as differences in participation and attainment in science and mathematics between co-ed and single sex schools in both the state-maintained and independent sectors. Read More
In the next two years, Labour will need to develop the policy detail to underpin its commitment to a fairer capitalism and a rebalanced economy. So how can science policy support this agenda?
Labour is now committed to an active industrial strategy that focuses on high performing sectors. Research and development-intensive sectors, including automotive, life sciences and aerospace are likely to be included. The TUC has long called for a sector led industrial strategy, so we welcome this commitment. Read More
On Monday, Research Councils UK announced that six of the Research Councils were looking to fill vacancies on their governing Councils. It probably isn’t the most engaging of our announcements but it could be classed as one of the most important. Why? Read More
The figures announced this week showing that UK employment has hit an all-time high are obviously welcome. If the UK is to recover its economic standing, and prosper in the future, then creating private sector jobs will be essential. But what kind of jobs should the UK be creating?
It is clear that if we are to rebalance the economy of this country away from the financial sectors, businesses that are built on science, engineering, and particularly physics will have a significant role to play. The Institute of Physics (IOP) has launched a report, in concert with Deloitte, that demonstrates how critical physics is to the continued existence of sectors of the economy that support more than a million jobs in the UK. Read More
When I decided to give a speech to the Labour Party Conference on science funding I didn’t expect much of a reaction. I anticipated that people who knew me would give polite congratulations and perhaps a few strangers interested in the topic would comment but apart from that I had resigned myself to the fact that it would probably go more or less unnoticed.
I am delighted to admit that I was wrong. Read More
The report by the Royal Academy of Engineering published this week looks to put an end to a very long running debate – does the UK produce enough STEM graduates?
Those with long memories will count the number of times analysts have pointed to graduate destination data to show that a proportion of scientists eschew science careers and that engineers don’t always choose engineering employers. This usually provokes a row over what that data means for the economy, for university funding, and for those considering investing in a university education. Read More
It is a pleasure to write for the CaSE blog about the BioIndustry Association’s Citizens’ Innovation Funds (CIFs) proposal. I am confident we all share the ambition of shining a light on UK science and innovation and improving the environment within which research and development, translation and product commercialisation can take place in the UK. Read More
Chile became the first South American country to join the OECD, and is recognized as one of the fastest growing Latin American economies. But Chile has big cracks in two pillars critical for our economic and social progress: Science, and Education.
In our recent letter to Science we emphasized how the Chilean state has been effectively deaf for decades. It has ignored over 10 national and international reports from local and foreign experts and scientists, international organisations and science academies and societies, describing the need for a national plan for research and development under a proper institutional framework and governance for science. Read More
The Olympics are over for another four years and Great Britain basks in the glory of a fantastic month for Team GB, both off and on the field. The final medal table showed – and the Paralympics continue to show – that Britain punches well above its weight when it comes to sporting success.
Team GB finished third behind the superpowers of the US and China: we collected 65 medals in total, 29 of them gold, beating the 47 medals collected by our athletes in the 2008 Beijing games and far surpassing the 48 medal target set by UK Sport, the funding body for the UK’s athletes. Read More
It’s no secret that the UK’s economy is a mess. What’s more of a surprise is that, four years into the crisis, the debate on what to do about the economy is still missing the point. While politicians and economists debate the virtues of Plan A and Plan B, austerity and stimulus, they’re missing something that may be obvious to engineers and scientists: that the real source of sustainable economic growth and societal progress isn’t short-term economic tinkering. It’s innovation. Read More
“Science and research are critical to our future health, wealth and happiness. The UK has a proud history of leading the world in ideas and innovation that have changed our planet and way of life.
But in recent decades, the UK government has not sufficiently recognised the importance of research and development. This country spends less on R&D than we used to, and than other countries do now.
If unchecked, this decline threatens to hurt our economy, reduce employment, and render the UK ever more reliant on buying innovation from overseas at great expense.
Rob Doubleday is Executive Director of the Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP) at the University of Cambridge. The article first appeared in the July 2012 edition of CaSE News.
Ireland’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Patrick Cunningham, likes to quote Lord Ritchie-Calder, a science journalist who worked in government during the Second World War. Scientists had played a central role in the war effort, but “having gained access to the corridors of power, scientists could not find their way to the men’s room.”
We’ve come a long way since Ritchie-Calder’s day, however, the question of science’s proper place in government remains. And it has been aired again at the news of Sir Mark Walport’s appointment to be the next Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA). Read More
The UK’s schools are not producing enough technologists. Evidence from sources such as the CBI, DBIS and NESTA reveals that many sectors of UK business and employment are experiencing severe skills shortages which threaten our international competitiveness. Most of these are related to applications of digital technologies.
The new Centre for Innovation in Technological Education (CITTE) aims to change that. It will support schools in strengthening the way technological education is integrated into the curriculum – to develop students’ technical and employability skills. Its approach will promote more positive perceptions of technology in teachers, parents and children – through stimulating, collaborative activities. Read More
It’s been an exciting few weeks in the world of education policy. Amidst all the media coverage last week of a possible return to O-level examinations, you could be forgiven for forgetting that a draft national curriculum has now been published for primary schools. Documents for English, mathematics and science are now available to view on the Department for Education’s website to allow for informal consultation.
Reaction so far to the mathematics curriculum has been mixed. The inclusion of Roman numerals has attracted particular attention in the newspapers, along with memorising multiplication tables all the way up to 12 times 12 (CXLIV of course). Whether or not being able to count like the Romans did should be an educational priority is a moot point. Read More
From large scale power and water infrastructure to the nanotechnology and bioengineering that are beginning to enhance our daily lives, the products of engineering are ubiquitous in modern society. This makes it a subject of huge importance to the global economy, and to humanity as a whole.
Yet, we take much of this for granted. It is perhaps time engineering is better acknowledged for its contributions, not only to improving our quality of life, but the contribution that investment in technology and engineering projects makes to growth. In 2009, UK industry contributed 21% of the country’s GDP. Although UK engineering is highly successful, it is vital that it maintains its competitive position.
18th June 2012 saw the seventh Science Question Time event, run by CaSE in collaboration with the Biochemical Society and Alice Bell of Imperial College. With ‘Growth’ as the evening’s theme the panel discussed the concept of economic growth, and how science and innovation can help to deliver it.
You listen to the full debate on our SoundCloud page.
January saw CaSE publish a scorecard, in response to a House of Lords Science and Technology Committee inquiry into Chief Scientific Advisers in Government. This scorecard, and the narrative that went with it, assessed the degree of independent scientific advice provided to Government departments. Read More
“BACK in the 1970s, as biochemist at Liverpool University, I was fairly certain that none of my colleagues knew the meaning of innovation. Scientists were ‘supposed’ to study science – not invent, patent, or take products into the marketplace.
As for control of Intellectual Property – well, there was none. Research discoveries were reported on an ad hoc basis to a senior administrator. He and his committee would decide what, if anything, to do with an invention.
The ‘innovation’ process was foreign and, I suspect, somewhat distasteful to the academics in my department – if not throughout academia. For example, I and a colleague invented the ‘Backfriend’ orthopaedic support. We funded the start of a company (Medesign) ourselves without any support from the university. Read More