Tag Archives: Guest Article

Changes to ‘Exceptional Talent’ visas

On Tuesday a new accelerated visa endorsement process for researchers who have been awarded senior and intermediate-level fellowships was announced. Read More »

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Putting learned societies at the centre of the ‘policy community’

2013 marked the 30th anniversaries of the first significant number of AIDS cases reported in Britain, and the UK’s first scientific meeting on what was then a terrifying new disease. Read More »

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How to meet demand for engineering skills

Engineering drives UK economic growth and lies at the heart of our quality of life. From advances in prosthetics, to developing the next ‘big thing’ in electronics, engineers contribute £481 billion to the UK economy, working in every sector imaginable. Read More »

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Inspiring the next generation of engineers


Engineering cannot be taught successfully without an industrial and research context.

If UK higher education is to deliver the quality and quantity of engineering graduates the country needs (and the numbers were demonstrated again last week in Engineering UK’s 2014 report on the State of Engineering), the funding of science and engineering needs a long term cross-party commitment. Read More »

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Raising the profile of science in the Northern Ireland Assembly

All-Party Group on Science and Technology

The formation of the Northern Ireland Assembly All-Party Group on Science and Technology, in February 2012, heralded the start of a new and developing relationship between the science and engineering community in Northern Ireland, Members of the Assembly (MLAs), and the Executive.

The All-Party Group (APG) is chaired by Basil McCrea MLA and managed by the Royal Society of Chemistry, the world’s leading chemistry community. It meets three times a year with the principle objective of bringing together MLAs and others with an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in Northern Ireland. Read More »

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Credibility Across Cultures

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 »

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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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Opportunity or ability in education?

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 »

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A science policy for Labour?

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 »

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Help steer the Research Councils

Each year the Research Councils invest around £3 billion in UK research

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 »

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Physics for future jobs

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 »

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Party Conferences: Speaking up for science

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 »

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Why we need more STEM graduates

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 »

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Unlocking public support for innovation

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 »

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Science for development: The case of science advocacy in Chile

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 »

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Science and sport – parallel pursuits?

Victoria Pendleton@London2012 by dullhunk, on Flickr

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 »

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Plan i: How innovation can drive economic growth

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 »

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Lib Dem MP discusses new science proposals

Julian Huppert MP

“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.

Read More »

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The Chief Scientific Advisor Agenda

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 »

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Promoting the return of the polymath


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 »

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