Westminster Higher Education Forum

Key issues for STEM in Higher Education - meeting the needs of industry, curriculum design and increasing diversity

Morning, Thursday, 15th November 2018

Central London


This timely seminar will examine the future of STEM in Higher Education - focusing on widening participation, meeting the demands of industry, designing interdisciplinary university curricula, and supporting progression to higher level study and employment.

It will bring together policymakers with key stakeholders in industry, higher education and more widely.

The discussion will centre on the latest thinking on strategies for tackling the current shortage of STEM skills in the UK, in light of the heightened focus by policymakers on the issue and the additional investment of £406m in maths, digital and technical education set out in the Industrial Strategy White Paper.

Delegates will also consider how to adopt a cohesive, cross-sectoral approach to develop sufficient supply in the STEM sector workforce, following the recommendations of the National Audit Office report 'Delivering STEM skills for economy'.

Key areas for discussion include:

  • Diversity - inclusivity in STEM, and how to attract more women, BAME students, and people from disadvantaged backgrounds;
  • What industry needs - looking at the UK economy as a whole as well as the STEM industries, including strategies to prioritise and promote STEM provision;
  • Curriculum design - learning from best practice in the design of STEM degrees to reflect skills demand and support innovation in research and industry;
  • Support for HEIs - priorities for tackling the challenges of increased costs and the development of world-class teaching facilities;
  • Graduate employability - strategies for improving success and retention in STEM jobs;
  • Addressing skills mismatches - including developing pathways to increase uptake in those areas of undersupply and imbalance, such as mathematics and engineering.

Guest of Honour

Nicola Turner

Head of Skills, Office for Students

Guest of Honour

Nicola Turner

Head of Skills, Office for Students


Lord Broers

former Chair, House of Lords Science and Technology Committee


Dr Lucy Jones

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

Phil Hyde

Audit Manager, Business Science and Skills VFM Team, National Audit Office

Stephen Howse

Policy Co-ordinator, Semta

Professor Lynette Ryals

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

Professor John Perkins

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

Professor Nazira Karodia

Dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Wolverhampton

Dr Colin Brown

Founder, Five Tribes

Dom McDonald

Head of Education, The Royal Institution

Dr Malcolm Skingle

Head of Academic Liaison, GlaxoSmithKline