Initiatives - most of content moved to 3.1.2
- SET for Success: the supply of people with science, technology, engineering and mathematic skills (April 2002)
- Baroness Greenfield's SET FAIR report ( (November 2002)
- Lambert report (December 2003)
- Science and Innovation Framework (2004 - 2014)
- The Warry Report (July 2006)
- Research Councils' support for Knowledge Transfer: the Government's Response (October 2006)
- Leitch Review (December 2006)
- Rugby Team (2005 - present)
- Employment charter for researchers
Sir Gareth Roberts' review published in April 2002 covered the supply of science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills throughout the education system. This report and associated funding has been pivotal in transforming the personal and professional development support for researchers.
Funding and reporting updates from RCUK on the Roberts' recommendations.
Baroness Greenfield's report, SET FAIR, was published in November 2002. The report provided several recommendations for government to overcome the barriers that prevent women and girls in entering, staying and succeeding in science, engineering and technology education and employment.
The government published its response ‘A Strategy for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology' in April 2003 to address the issues outlined in SET FAIR. The main initiative to come out of the Strategy was the establishment of the UK Resource Centre for Women (UKRC) in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET). Launched in September 2004, the UKRC provides practical help and support to girls and women in SET, including those thinking of a career in SET and those taking a career break.
The Lambert Review of Business-University Collaboration, published in 2003, highlights the importance of 'human interaction in building linkages, particularly in knowledge transfer. It recognises that there has been significant cultural change in HEIs with respect to interaction with business and supporting national and local economies, but that much remains to be done.
In July 2004, the government published a ten-year investment framework for science and innovation (SIIF) alongside the 2004 Spending Review. The framework set out the government's ambition for UK science and innovation over the next decade, in particular their contribution to economic growth and public services. It makes it clear that science, engineering and technology SET skills are essential for the future of the UK.
In March 2006, the Science and innovation investment framework 2004-2014: Next Steps was published which set out the government's thoughts on the long-term challenges facing UK science and innovation. It outlined a range of new proposals designed to create a more effective science and innovation system in the UK, including consultation on proposals outlined in Chapter two "Maximising the impact of science on innovation" and Chapter three "Improving research councils' effectiveness".
'Increasing the Economic impact of the Research Councils' (the Warry report) is the report of the Research Council Economic Impact Group, chaired by Peter Warry, to the Director General of Science and innovation at the DTI. It has four recommendations directed at the research councils:
- providing stronger leadership
- being more influential
- engaging more with stakeholders
- being able to demonstrate the impact of their investments in both research and researcher training.
With respect to researchers the report recommends that the research councils should:
- expand incentives for researchers to participate in knowledge transfer
- foster the development of partnerships between research groups in the UK and overseas centres of excellence
- encourage and reward two-way secondments between the research base and business
- encourage the universities to make enterprise training widely available for researchers in all disciplines.
See also the government's response to the Warry report.
The House of Commons' Science and Technology Committee endorsed the research councils' roles in supporting knowledge transfer and ensuring the economic impact of their funding. Read the House of Common's response Commons response to Warry & knowledge transfer.
The Leitch Review (2006) was tasked with considering the UK's long-term skills needs. It proposes that at the current rate of development, the UK will still lag behind its competitors in 2020. Although the review does not specifically cover researchers as a cohort, it does recognise the value of higher level skills.
"One of the most powerful levers for improving productivity will be higher level skills. Postgraduate, or Level 5 skills, such as MBAs and PhDs..."
"...higher level skills are key drivers of innovation, entrepreneurship, management, leadership and research and development critical to a high skills, high performance economy increasingly in demand from high performance, global employers...[and are] an important feature of greater employer collaboration with HE."
The Rugby Team is a sector-led working group that was created to explore the impact of developing the skills of researchers. The mission of the Rugby Team is to 'propose a meaningful and workable way of evaluating the effectiveness of skills development in early career researchers'.
The current terms of reference (2008 - 2012) are to:
- inform national and agency policies and practices relating to the evaluation of skills development of researchers
- provide sector input into shaping a programme to build an evidence base on the effectiveness of developing researchers' skills
- act as a sector ‘sounding board' to Vitae with respect building the evidence base.
The National Postgraduate Committee, National Union of Students and the University and College Union have developed a charter for the employment of postgraduate researchers, research staff and academic staff as teachers or related roles in higher education. Download the Employment charter for postgraduate researchers, research staff and academic staff (1998)
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