Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


Memorandum from the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE)

  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.

January 2005

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