Dr Robert Parker responds to House of Lords report on Higher Education in STEM subjects

24 July 2012

Commenting on the House of Lords Science and Technology select committee report on Higher Education in Science, technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects, Dr Robert Parker said: "Last year we had more than 4,500 students beginning their university chemistry course, but at the same time we were faced with a ruinous 66 per cent reduction in the capital science budget. 

"The last time a cut that size occurred was during the dark days of the 1980s when many researchers had to carry out their work in dilapidated facilities, so this cut is going to have a long-term effect on quality of teaching. Although chemistry is increasingly popular with new departments opening, some universities will struggle with cuts to cope with demand following infrastructure cuts."

Referring to a key recommendation of the House of Lords report for maths to be compulsory post-16, Dr Parker added: "There is no doubt that it would be beneficial for chemistry students to have studied A-level maths considering the relevance of the subjects to each other. Furthermore, we would not want to see any depletion to the growing numbers of students studying chemistry.

"Regarding the number of STEM graduates in the workplace, we believe that those with science degrees entering non-STEM roles also play a key part in driving economic growth by providing a deeper knowledge pool in areas that scientific advice can play a vital part."

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