The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) provides a significant contribution to the UK’s national skills base, in three main fields:
- direct employment and training of a highly specialised STEM workforce to maintain STFC’s leading role in technology development and the operation of large multidisciplinary facilities
- funding doctoral training in universities in specific disciplines, which produces ambitious and talented researchers across the UK who are highly valued by industrial and academic sectors alike
- public engagement activities which directly reach millions of people a year to enthuse, inspire and educate young people about STEM careers, and support their parents and teachers, so as to help provide the skilled workforce of the future.
STFC recognises the needs to ensure its skills programme remains vibrant and effective so as to maximise benefits for the UK economy and society, while also ensuring an essential focus on the requirements of our scientific vision. The Balance of Programme (Skills) exercise was established in 2017 to review STFC’s skills programme to identify the most desirable programme balance over the next five years.
The programme was reviewed by an external panel co-chaired by Professor Martin Hendry (University of Glasgow) and Dr Richard Burguete (National Physical Laboratory). The panel considered evidence from two community consultations conducted through STFC’s advisory panels, as well as information on the challenges and opportunities facing each part of the skills programme.
The panel has now recommended an appropriate balance of investment across STFC’s skills programme, and has identified priorities that are specific to each skills area.
The panel stresses however that its recommendations are both specific and hypothetical: specific in terms of broad recommendations for the future of the programme but hypothetical in relation to specific funding scenarios which are outlined in the report merely to aid consideration of priorities. The panel’s recommendations should not be read as suggesting any specific funding outcome.
STFC welcomes the panel’s findings as set out in its report which recognises the challenges posed by low funding scenarios, and the opportunities presented by STFC’s campuses, academic and other partners in delivering an ambitious skills programme.
STFC will consider the panel’s recommendations and develop an implementation plan to ensure it has an optimal skills programme to deliver the core research programme, to help meet STFC’s skills requirements and to contribute to the skills needs of the relevant industries and of wider society.
Last updated: 31 March 2022