Select Committee on Innovation, Universities and Skills Written Evidence

Memorandum 82

Submission from the Campaign for Science & Engineering

  1.  The Campaign for Science & Engineering (CaSE) is pleased to submit written evidence to the Innovation, University and Skills Committee. CaSE is a voluntary organisation campaigning to improve the health of science and engineering in the UK. It is supported by over 1,200 individual members, and some 70 institutional members, including universities, learned societies and companies.

  2.  CaSE strongly supports the need to continue public funding for students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects as an equivalent or lower qualification (ELQ). If the proposal to withdraw funding for ELQs is implemented, CaSE believes that all STEM subjects should be made exempt from it.

  3.  The current HEFCE proposal is to give an additional allocation of funding to support students studying strategic and vulnerable subjects (SIVS), which includes STEM subjects. Although CaSE supports the recognition that STEM subjects should be protected from any withdrawal of funding for ELQs, it is concerned about how the additional funding allocation will work in practice. The additional allocation needs to appropriately compensate institutions for increasing the uptake up of STEM subjects as ELQs. It is also critical that all science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects are classified as strategic and vulnerable subjects (SIVS) for allocating funding for ELQs. The proposal for protecting SIVS will be reviewed in 2010-11. It is important that HEFCE and the government make clear that STEM subjects will be protected past this date so that students and institutions can plan for the future.

  4.  STEM subjects are recognised by government, industry and society as critically important to the future of the UK. CaSE encourages the Committee to clarify how any proposed changes to ELQ funding would protect students who wish to study STEM subjects. CaSE believes this would be best achieved by making all STEM subjects exempt from any withdrawal of funding for ELQs.

January 2008

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