Engineering in government: follow up to the 2009 report on Engineering: turning ideas into reality - Science and Technology Committee Contents

1  Introduction

1.  In March 2009, our predecessor Committee published the findings of its wide-ranging inquiry into engineering in the report Engineering: turning ideas into reality (hereafter referred to as the 2009 Engineering report). The Committee had examined four case studies: (i) nuclear engineering; (ii) plastic electronics engineering; (iii) geo-engineering; and (iv) engineering in Government. Through the case study on engineering in Government, the Committee made a number of recommendations to improve the Government's use of engineering advice and expertise in policy processes, which were supplemented further by the 2009 report Putting Science and Engineering at the Heart of Government Policy.[1]

2.  Engineering is a critical component of our national economy, and the Government clearly considers the UK to have significant engineering strengths.[2] However, changing economic and political environments have introduced new pressures on UK engineering, and we were keen to revisit the relationship between Government and the engineering community. This follow-up inquiry is part of our ongoing interest in engineering and its importance to society. Therefore in September 2011 we sought views on the following questions:

a)  Since the 2009 Engineering inquiry, has the role of engineering evidence, expertise and advice in Government improved?

b)  Are structures within Government now designed to optimise  engagement with engineering communities and input to decision-making?

c)  How has the Government's relationship with the engineering community changed?

d)  Are there specific engineering sectors where engagement with Government should be improved? How could improvements be made?[3]

We held two evidence sessions in November 2011. We would like to thank everyone who contributed written or oral evidence to this follow-up inquiry.

1   Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee, Eighth Report of Session 2008-09, Putting Science and Engineering at the Heart of Government Policy, HC 168-I Back

2   Ev14 para 2 Back

3   "Inquiry into engineering in government", Science and Technology Committee press release, 30 October 2011 Back

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Prepared 30 April 2012