Science and research are major contributors to the prosperity of the UK. For our prosperity to continue, the government believes we need high levels of skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and citizens that value them.
To engage the public in science and engineering we:
- hold the British Science Festival and the National Science and Engineering Week, events that promote science and raise the public’s awareness of science issues
- fund the work of 3 independent national academies: the Royal Society, the British Academy and the Royal Academy of Engineering
- make science and engineering policy decisions that are informed by monitoring public opinion
- promote science in schools and fund programmes and events that inspire students to study STEM subjects
In 2008 the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) funded A Vision for Science and Society - A consultation on Developing a New Strategy for the UK to find out how we should develop science skills, improve science communication and build public confidence in science.
The consultation identified five areas for us to improve:
- science for all - changing public attitudes on science
- science and the media - training the scientific community to work with the media
- science and learning - inspiring young people to take an interest in and study STEM subjects
- science and careers - improving career advice for people wanting to work in science
- science and trust - increasing public trust in how science is done
Based on this consultation we have drafted a set of criteria on what we should fund, which has been open to the public for comment. The next step is to develop a new set of science and society activities ready for the next financial year.