Public understanding of science and engineering

Supporting detail:

Inspiring students to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics

The government believes that if we want the UK to remain a world leader in research and technology we will need a future generation that is passionate about, and skilled in, science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Your Life

Your Life is a 3-year campaign aiming to help young adults in the UK to get the maths and science skills needed to succeed in the current competitive global economy. We will do this by inspiring young people to study maths and physics as an opening to exciting and wide-ranging careers. It will also help employers recruit and keep talent, particularly women. Your Life connects existing initiatives together into 1 effective campaign, with 3 big objectives:

  1. change the way young people think about maths and science by raising awareness of the exciting and wide-ranging careers that studying these subjects can lead to

  2. increase participation in maths and science studies at age 16 and beyond, with an ambitious target to increase the number of students studying maths and physics at A level by 50% in 3 years

  3. increase the opportunities for all people and particularly women to pursue a wide range of careers that need skills in science, technology, engineering and maths

In November 2014, Your Life is speaking directly to young people through a national media campaign and in schools across the country. We are giving young people the opportunity to be involved with the campaign and its partners through social media, competitions and events.


The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network, STEMNET, is a UK-wide organisation set up to inspire young people to take an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Studying STEM subjects helps young people to develop their creativity, problem-solving and technical skills, and makes them better able to make informed decisions about STEM issues.

STEMNET runs 3 programmes:

  • STEM ambassadors: 28,000 volunteers who provide a free resource for teachers helping them provide the STEM curriculum in fresh and innovative ways
  • STEM clubs network: clubs that allow children to explore, investigate and discover STEM subjects outside of the school timetable and curriculum
  • schools STEM advisory network: 45 organisations across the country that offer impartial advice to schools on how they can help get students into further STEM education, training and employment

STEMNET receives funding from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Education.

National Science and Engineering Competition

The National Science and Engineering Competition is open to all 11 to 18 year-olds living in the UK and in full-time education. It rewards students who have achieved excellence in a STEM project.

The aim of the competition is to recognise and reward young people’s achievements in all areas of STEM and encourage others to become interested in STEM subjects.

The British Science Association coordinates the competition in partnership with The Big Bang Fair and Young Engineers.

The Big Bang Fair

The Big Bang is the largest celebration of STEM for young people in the UK and is aimed at showing 7 to 19 year-olds just how many exciting and rewarding opportunities there are for people interested in STEM subjects.