The next major challenge facing UK researchers is to persuade society that scientific method should be at the core of scientific debate, and to diminish the influence of minority protest groups in the public perception of science.
The next major challenge facing UK researchers is to persuade society that scientific method should be at the core of scientific debate, and to diminish the influence of minority protest groups in the public perception of science. So said the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, Charles Clarke MP, speaking at the Voice of the Future meeting organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Clarke added that the UK government considers that improving standards of scientific education in schools is paramount.
The meeting, held in Westminster, London, gave young scientists and engineers the chance to meet MPs on the Science and Technology Select Committee. Ian Gibson, chairman of the committee, opened the meeting with a mood of hope, suggesting that science will get more exposure and support from the government in future: ’We are beginning to emerge into the premiership of select committees . Science is going to be a major part of building a stable economy,’ he said. MPs discussed sensitive topics frankly and the members of the committee each gave their own view on matters ranging from tuition fees in UK universities, to the retention of high-quality graduates in the UK’s scientific community. The latter point was a concern to all, with the major problem clearly identified as relatively poor salaries in both academe and the scientific and engineering industries in the UK, compared with salaries for either similar positions abroad, or for other unrelated careers such as accountancy.