Funding boost moves chemistry forward again across England

18 April 2008

An RSC-centred programme created to build a strong science base in higher education has just been awarded a further 1.65 million.

The money provided by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) demonstrates that the existing Chemistry for Our Future scheme managed by the RSC has made significant progress towards achieving the aims of its first phase which began in 2006 with a 3.6m award from the same body. 

The new HEFCE injection of money will enable the RSC to continue its valuable work around the country. Melanie Washington, national programme manager, located at the RSC in London, said today:

"The Chemistry for Our Future programme aims to ensure that there is a robust and sustainable HE chemistry community across England which attracts able students from all backgrounds and provides chemical science courses that are appropriate for the students and employers of the 21st Century."

The programme builds on the achievements of the HEFCE funded Chemistry for our Future pilot programme and the Chemistry: The Next Generation pilot programme which ran from 2004-2006, now part of the overall CFOF programme.

CFOF will continue to work with organisations involved in the support and promotion of science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and ensure a cohesive and co-ordinated approach within and across regions and address issues relating to recruitment into higher education, retention and employability. 

This 1.65m will be for an extension of the CFOF pilot programme from September 2008-July 2009. 

Melanie Washington said: "In our bid for the latest round of funding we showed that there had been an upward trend in chemistry applications, proven by data from UCAS, the university clearing organisation. We also showed that there had been an increase in A Level grades.

"Additionally we made the case for increased collaboration and communication between universities and employers, paralleled by enhanced appreciation of career opportunities through a chemistry education plus better awareness of chemistry and its applications to daily life."

Dr Richard Pike, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry said today: "The RSC places tremendous importance upon this project because it is all about enabling the country to have a flourishing chemistry community in order for us to meet the great challenges ahead such as sustainable energy, food provision and security, and fighting climate change." 

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