Producing the next generation of scientists (2007)

The recently published 'Science and Innovation Investment Framework 2004-14 Annual Report 2007' makes encouraging claims about the future supply of scientists.

'There has been an encouraging rise in the proportion of young people reaching expected levels in mathematics and sciences. Applications to study STEM subjects including Chemistry and Physics at undergraduate level are also showing substantial increases this year. Proposals announced in May 2007 will see a national campaign to promote STEM careers running from September 2008.

The key achievements in ensuring the UK retains a strong supply of scientist, engineers and technologists over the past year include:

• the proportion of 14 year-olds reaching the expected level of competence in mathematics and science reached highest-ever levels in 2006;
• from September, all pupils in England will have an entitlement to study at least two sciences at GCSE, and from September 2008, those who achieve above average Key Stage 3 results will be able to take 3 separate sciences;
• accredited diplomas being piloted to give existing school science teachers without a physics or chemistry specialism deeper subject knowledge;
• 250 science clubs have been established for pupils at Key Stage 3 with an interest and aptitude for science;
• the number of STEM first degree entrants increased by 5 per cent between 2004/05 and 2005/06;
• the number of applications to start first degree courses in 2007/08 is up on the previous year by 12 per cent in Physics, 11 per cent in Chemistry, and 10 per cent in Maths;
• additional funding of £75 million over 3 years to support universities’ teaching of high-cost science and engineering subjects; and
• RCUK Research Careers and Diversity Strategy published in January 2007, consultation on principles for a Concordat to Support the Career Management of Researchers published in July 2007.

As previously announced there will be a national campaign to promote STEM careers, in partnership with subject associations, employers, universities and other stakeholders which will run from September 2008. This will use common publicity materials including the RAS supported Science Council’s “Careers from Science” website to promote an agreed set of messages to young people, parents and teachers.

The full Report is attached as a PDF.