Westminster Higher Education Forum

Next steps for improving STEM delivery at university - innovation, widening participation, and new funding and government policy

Morning, Thursday, 15th November 2018

Central London


This timely seminar will focus on the next steps for improving STEM delivery at university - looking at widening participation, innovation and best practice, and the potential impact of new funding and government policy initiatives.

It will bring out latest thinking on widening participation - and attracting students to shortage subjects and progression to graduate study - following the recommendations of the National Audit Office report ‘Delivering STEM skills for the economy’ on developing a cohesive, cross-sectoral approach to develop sufficient supply in the STEM sector workforce which were endorsed in subsequent Public Accounts Committee recommendations.

It comes with a report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies finding that increased exposure to female role models in STEM, and work experience in the sector, would be effective measures for encouraging further STEM study by high-achieving girls in the UK - and highlighting issues that girls raised over teaching quality, the curriculum and assessment.

We expect discussion on ways that universities can work with schools and colleges as well as campaign groups, businesses, learned societies and skills organisations to increase uptake of STEM subjects at university, including growing the number of female students and those from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds.

Delegates will also discuss priorities for improving graduate employability and career development, and tackling persistent skills gaps in the context of the focus by government and funding agencies on the role of STEM in the UK economy.

Further sessions look at innovation in the design and delivery of STEM, including current trends in engineering and science education in universities as well as developing facilities and keeping the curriculum up-to-date.

The agenda also considers developments in funding and the link to major policy initiatives, with discussion expected on the additional investment of £406m in maths, digital and technical education set out in the Industrial Strategy White Paper and following the announcement of a £900 million UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship Scheme, which will fund fellowships and is open to universities and business.

Guests of Honour

Nicola Turner

Head of Skills, Office for Students

Dr Sarah Read

Head of STEM strategy, Department for Education

Guests of Honour

Nicola Turner

Head of Skills, Office for Students

Dr Sarah Read

Head of STEM Strategy, Department for Education

Keynote Speaker

Phil Hyde

Audit Manager, Education VFM Team, National Audit Office


Lord Broers

former Chair, House of Lords Science and Technology Committee

Lord Lucas

Officer, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Skills and Employment


Dr Lucy Jones

Vice Dean, Education, Faculty of Science Engineering and Computing, Kingston University London and Member, WISE Campaign

Stephen Howse

Research Manager, WISE

Professor Janet Scott

Training Director, Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Chemical Technologies, University of Bath

Professor Lynette Ryals

Pro Vice Chancellor and Director of Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University

Asfa Sohail

Vice Principal, Havering College of Further and Higher Education

Professor John Perkins

Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Manchester and former Chief Scientific Adviser, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Dr Eunice Atkins

Employability and Skills Development Manager, Faculty of Natural Sciences/Careers and Employability Service, University of Stirling

Professor Nazira Karodia

Dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Wolverhampton

Dr Colin Brown

Interim Chief Executive, Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Dom McDonald

Head of Education, The Royal Institution

Dr Malcolm Skingle

Head of Academic Liaison, GSK

Katie Daniel

Head of Manufacturing, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council