Former Science and Innovation Minister, Lord David Sainsbury, has told UK schoolteachers and industry volunteers they must take responsibility for the future of science and engineering.
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Speaking at the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) whynotchemeng reception in London last month, Lord Sainsbury warned that a sustained supply of science and engineering graduates is crucial to the UK economy, and that science teachers and professionals from industry will play a major role in encouraging students to study the subjects at university.
“We need to inspire more young people to take up careers in the process industries and it will be the passion and enthusiasm of today’s chemical engineers and science teachers that most inspire the next generation,” said Lord Sainsbury.
“The scientists and engineers of tomorrow will be responsible for finding solutions to many of the problems facing our planet. I passionately believe that the process industries have a key role to play in our transition to a more sustainable society,” he added.
Earlier this year, the Confederation of British Industries (CBI) warned that the UK requires 2.4 million new science and technology graduates by 2014. Ministers have responded by saying teachers who retrained as science specialists would be given an extra £5,000. Lord Sainsbury was also awarded honorary Fellowship of the IChemE at the event, and spoke of the 70% rise in applications to study chemical engineering at UK Universities.
“The whynotchemeng campaign shows exactly what can be achieved when energetic young engineers and scientists fly the flag for their profession,” said Lord Sainsbury. “Chemical Engineering is in many ways the heart of the process and the Government still sees chemical, biochemical and process engineering as part of the new knowledge economy and of central importance to our future economic success.”