Science subjects to receive £75m boost

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) is to provide £75m in additional funding to support science subjects with declining student numbers.

Some high cost science subjects, although strategically important to the economy and society, are vulnerable because of low student demand.

The funding over three years from 2007-08 will support chemistry; physics; chemical engineering; and mineral, metallurgy and materials engineering. It willl help maintain provision in these subjects in universities and colleges while demand from students grows.

Professor David Eastwood, Chief Executive, told HEFCE's annual meeting on Wednesday November 8: “This funding brings the support that HEFCE is giving to strategically important and vulnerable subjects to nearly a quarter of a billion pounds by 2010. As we reported to the Secretary of State for Education and Skills last month, we are already implementing a £160 million programme of work. Much of this is designed to raise the aspirations of young people to study subjects which are of fundamental importance to the prosperity and knowledge base of the country.

“Through this additional funding of £25 million a year over three years we want to ensure that in the future there will be sufficient provision to meet increased demand from students. Chemistry, physics and some engineering subjects are particularly expensive to provide and have been in relative decline with respect to student numbers.”

The additional funding for chemistry, physics and the other subjects will increase the HEFCE teaching grant for these subjects by approximately 20% or by one thousand pounds per student.

Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, Bill Rammell, said: “This Government is raising science spending overall by more than £1 billion by 2007-08 compared with 2004-05. We have significantly increased the number of science undergraduates and raised the numbers coming through teacher training in science subjects. This further initiative of £75 million extra support for chemistry and physics will help to bolster these key strategic subjects.”


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