The Higher Education Funding Council for England’s announcement that they are to provide £75 million in additional funding to support high cost science subjects such as chemical engineering is welcomed by The Royal Academy of Engineering.

The London Engineering Project (LEP) which is led by the Academy is a recent beneficiary of HEFCE’s commitment to supporting STEM (science, engineering, technology and mathematics).

The LEP, an initiative which supports STEM education in London schools, colleges and universities, is the first phase of the National Engineering Programme. By supporting STEM in schools and by creating attractive degree courses in universities, the LEP promotes engineering as a strategic subject and gives London students the chance to claim their place in the technology based future of London.

The LEP is already making its mark in South London, bringing hands on science and technology activities to youngsters in some fifty schools. A team of dedicated field workers, mentors and project managers deliver STEM activities in these schools, enriching and enhancing their school learning within the national curriculum.

In universities, the project is already funding, developing and delivering brand new, socially relevant engineering courses to encourage and diversify participation in engineering higher education. Higher education courses with a clearly defined link to societal issues are more attractive to the consumer and the LEP also targets adult learners, women, black and minority ethnic groups and students from families with no history of engagement in higher education.

The Project hopes to roll out across the UK as The National Engineering Programme, in 2008 and build demand for a subject that is costly to deliver.

Professor Mathew Harrison, LEP Director says,

“The country needs more engineers and scientists. HEFCE’s commitment to strategic subjects is of national importance. Projects like the LEP are vital to the survival and perpetuation of UK science and engineering. Vice chancellors are now better rewarded for meeting the demand we create but we need this for all engineering as well as chemical engineering.”

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.
  2. The London Engineering Project co-ordinates science, technology, engineering and maths activities in schools and colleges in South London, engaging with pupils of all ages. The project illustrates and demonstrates the advantages of a career in engineering and, in higher education institutes, it is developing new and improved engineering curricula to attract more students; students from all backgrounds.

For more information please contact

Dr Claire McLoughlin at the Royal Academy of Engineering