General election 2017: science and education policy

By Gabriele Butkute, Science Policy Officer, Biochemical Society

While there rarely is a calm time in science policy, the last year has been particularly busy with the EU membership referendum, several consultations and bills, such as the HE & Research Bill, and now the General Election.

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The demand for skills development in the molecular biosciences

Derry MercerBy Dr Derry K Mercer, Principal Scientist at Novabiotics Ltd & member of the Biochemical Society Policy Advisory Panel

The UK Government recently published a Green Paper ‘Building our Industrial Strategy’ in which the urgent need for developing skills in further/higher education and the workforce was outlined. The document noted that while the UK higher education system was strong, our achievements in basic and technical skills was relatively poor and has led to the lower levels of productivity compared with other advanced economies.

The skills issues were outlined as follows:

  • lack of basic skills;
  • shortage of high-skilled technicians below graduate level;
  • skills shortages in STEM sectors;
  • the need for informed career choices;
  • lack of lifelong learning opportunities.

For anyone working in the molecular biosciences, whether in academia or industry, most of these concerns can hardly have come as a surprise and represents a huge problem for a growing sector that currently generates turnover of over £56 billion per annum. Indeed, the skills and productivity gaps were pointed out in an earlier UK government documentFixing the foundations: Creating a more prosperous nation’ in 2015. Continue reading “The demand for skills development in the molecular biosciences”

Voice of the Future 2017: young scientists question MPs and Ministers

By Dr Andrew Quigley, Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Oxford

Blog Andrew_VOF2017
Dr Andrew Quigley representing the Biochemical Society at Voice of the Future event . Photo: Royal Society of Biology

“Voice of the Future is a very unusual event” says Dr Stephen Benn, Director of Parliamentary Affairs at the Royal Society of Biology.  There is no event quite like it anywhere else in Parliament, possibly the world.  How often do young representatives of professional bodies get the opportunity to sit in for a Parliamentary Committee and question MPs about science policy issues that matter to them?  But that is exactly the chance that I and 50 other young scientists and engineers were given. Continue reading “Voice of the Future 2017: young scientists question MPs and Ministers”