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£3 Million Investment For Future Of Science And Mathematics Education

Ever increasingly, the future of the UK relies on a knowledge-based economy with career opportunities in new technologies and innovative businesses rapidly replacing our more traditional industries.

Yet, less and less young people are taking up places on degree courses in Mathematics and Science based subjects that will be vital to them if they want to work in these new industries.

As part of a commitment to find new ways to encourage children and young people to greater achievement and understanding of Science and Mathematics related subjects, the Economic & Social Research Council, in partnership with other Research Councils, the Institute of Physics, Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the Gatsby Foundation will be investing £3 million to fund 5 projects across the UK.

The projects will also be supported by various other organisations, including the Association for Science Education.

Focusing across the secondary school age range, these projects will consider issues such as the use of a range of different media within classrooms, curriculum reform, classroom organisation and assessment methods, and look to develop effective interventions to enhance student engagement.

The five projects being funded are from:

• Kings College, Education & Professional Studies Department - two projects
• Institute of Education, Mathematics Science and Technology Department
• University of Leeds, School of Education
• University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education
The importance of these areas was recently highlighted in “The Race to the Top” a review of the Government’s Science & Innovation policies by Lord Sainsbury in October 2007 who highlighted the importance of a continuing flow of talented students into STEM subjects. The report promoted the need for society to be enthused and excited by science, where science is understood and its value recognised. A key message was the need to drive up the supply of highly trained scientists and engineers.

The original call for proposals was issued in January 2007, following consultation with key organisations and experts in the field and follows the identification of science and mathematics as a key area for support within the ESRC’s ‘Education for Life’ priority.

Professor Ian Diamond, Chief Executive of the ESRC, commented: “I am delighted at this announcement and the opportunity that this co-funding initiative will bring. The successful projects will make a significant impact on a range of policy and practices for science and mathematics learning.”

Danielle Moore | alfa
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