Academy drives UK engineering skills

31 January 2008

Britain’s national academy for engineering has welcomed a Royal Society report highlighting the shortage of PhD students in science and engineering.

The Royal Academy of Engineering voiced its own concerns in 2002, claiming that students faced with low academic pay or high starting salaries of industry and commerce will often choose the latter.

‘I welcome the Royal Society’s emphasis on both the importance of stronger employer engagement in higher level learning and research training for the UK’s engineers and scientists and also on the important contribution which our overseas students make to the health and science and engineering in this country,’ said Professor Julia King, a fellow of The Royal Academy of Engineering.

King, Vice Chancellor of Aston University, chaired the Academy’s report Educating Engineers for the 21st Century, published in June 2007. The 400 companies and 81 UK universities interviewed for the report were unanimous that university engineering courses need redesigning for the modern economy. Furthermore, they felt the industry required more engineers and that funding per university student needs to increase by 50 to 80 per cent.

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