ROYAL SOCIETY STUDY: SCIENCE HE 2015 AND
In 2005, the Royal Society responded to the
House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology's
inquiry into strategic subjects. This prompted the development
of a pilot project, which explored the supply of and demand for
graduates from first degree courses in science, technology and
mathematics (STM). Work undertaken as part of the initial study
has started to provide a better idea of the numbers of and skills,
knowledge and experience of students joining the university system
and has been reported in A degree of concern? UK first degrees
in science, technology and mathematics. A number of issues identified
in the report have resulted in the setup of this project to consider
whether STM HE provision in the UK will be fit for purpose by
the second half of the next decade and beyond.
2. SCOPE OF
This phase of the project is considering whether
the overall STM HE provision in the UK will be fit for purpose
by the second half of the next decade. Considerations of whether
UK STM HE is fit for purpose must include the needs of society
and the economy for STM-trained individuals at all levels; the
skills, knowledge, experience and intention of those entering
the HE system; the international competitiveness of the UK HE
system; and the political and economic context in which HE exists.
Selected issues that have been identified for further investigation
The demand for STM graduates from
the economy and wider society, and how this demand is changing.
The quantity of those graduating
at all levels of the higher education system, and the quality,
depth and breadth of their educational and training experiences.
The length of time HE studies should
take, and how that time should be broken down (with reference
to the Bologna proposals to standardise the structure of HE across
The current discipline boundaries
and whether a general science first degree option could be appropriate.
The changes to the skills, knowledge
and experience of those entering the HE system and how the HE
system can accommodate such changes.
The need to allow students to be
flexible in their choices of occupation as they gain their qualification
The impact, on the UK, of international
flows of students and STM professionals.
The Society's HE working group issued a call
for evidence on these issues in summer 2006. The group is now
taking forward work in these areas and expects to report in autumn
Professor Judith AK Howard CBE FRS, Head of
Department of Chemistry, University of Durham (chair).
Dr Kathy Barrett, Higher Education Careers Adviser,
UCL Careers Service & Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Department
of Anatomy & Developmental Biology, University College London.
Professor Amanda Chetwynd, Pro-Vice-Chancellor,
Professor Patrick Dowling CBE FREng FRS, Chair,
Royal Society Education Committee.
Professor Laurence Eaves CBE FRS, Professor
of Physics, University of Nottingham.
Professor Alexander Halliday FRS, Professor
of Geochemistry, Oxford University.
Professor Edgar Jenkins, Emeritus Professor
of Science Education Policy, University of Leeds.
Mr Geoff Mason, Senior Research Fellow, National
Institute of Economic and Social Research.
Dr Andy T Merritt, Global Director of Outsourcing
and Molecular Tools, GlaxoSmithKline R&D.
Mr Philip Ruffles CBE FREng FRS, Former Director
Engineering & Technology, Rolls Royce.
Professor John Spicer, Reader, Marine Biology and
Ecology Research Centre, University of Plymouth.
Professor Joan Stringer CBE, Principal &
Vice Chancellor, Napier University.
Professor John Wood FREng, Chief Executive,
CCLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.