Memorandum from the Institution of Electrical
The Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE)
is the largest engineering institution in Europe with a membership
of some 130,000 professional engineers who represent key sectors
including electronics, communications, computing, energy, manufacturing,
and transport. Our members are employed in an equally wide range
of organisations from multi-national companies through small and
medium sized enterprises (SMEs), to sole traders. In addition,
many of our members are involved in cutting-edge scientific research,
as well as its application, exploitation and knowledge transfer.
We therefore welcome the opportunity to submit evidence to the
House of Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry into
strategic science provision in universities.
It goes without saying that university science
departments provide the seedcorn of the engineering profession
of tomorrow in terms of both graduates, and the research output
that is vital for wealth creation and quality of life. Whilst
it is tempting to try to develop a "supply chain" model
for the flow of graduates into industry, government and indeed
academia, the output lags the input by at least three years and
the behaviour of each stakeholder is influenced by other often
competing and conflicting models, and national and international
conditions beyond their control.
In submitting our evidence to the inquiry (Annex
A) we have where possible provided firm views on the issue involved.
However, there are areas where there is valid conflict between
different stakeholders. We have not tried to resolve these different
views because it is equally important that the Select Committee
is aware of these conflicts and alternatives.