Public understanding of science and engineering


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:


The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) undertook a review of the Science and Society Programme in 2012, working with:

  • the science community
  • business
  • educators
  • media
  • civil society groups

Two important messages emerged:

  • target new audiences: public participation with science in general is gaining momentum but the current audience is largely already interested in science, there is a collective need to do more to take science to those not currently involved
  • interact with people where they naturally congregate, rather than expecting them to come to us

BIS led development of a Charter for Science and Society in the UK, to achieve the common aims developed through the review. We have launched the Community Challenge Grant Scheme as part of our commitment to this Charter. You can view the successful applicants for the 2014 to 2015 scheme.

This latest review and follow on activity builds on the work done in 2008 when the department ran the consultation ‘Vision for science and society’ to find out how we should develop science skills, improve science communication and build public confidence in science.