Lord Browne of Madingley, President of The Royal Academy of Engineering, welcomed the Government’s commitment to speak up and to stand up for science. Commenting on Tony Blair’s speech on science in Oxford today, Lord Browne said:

“Science and engineering are crucial for the success of the UK economy. In today’s economy, the UK will only prosper if it is a knowledge-based economy, competing on the basis of skills and innovation.

“Increases in the science budget and in the research budget, the establishment of the Technology Science Board and the expansion in the number of science teachers are all welcome developments.

“We now need to encourage more young people to study engineering and to apply the advances of science in practical ways. Engineering is the key to solving the critical issues of the day, from climate change and energy supply to poverty reduction and health and well-being. Engineering provides solutions to the problems we face.

“We welcome the Government’s support for promoting engineering in education, including the recent Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Programme Report and its help in the development of the forthcoming diploma in engineering. Unless we increase the number of young people studying engineering, businesses will continue to face skill shortages amongst engineers.

“Yet there is much more to do. Over 40 university engineering and technology departments have closed since 1996. Increasing numbers of academic staff face retirement by 2010. We need to strengthen opportunities for studying engineering at all levels, including higher education.”

Notes for editors

  1. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

For more information please contact

Dr Richard Wilson at The Royal Academy of Engineering