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People and skills in UK science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – inquiry launched

20 July 2022

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee lanches an inquiry into people and skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the UK.


During the Committee’s inquiry into delivering a science and technology strategy, it heard concerns about the availability of skilled individuals for STEM related careers. Post-Brexit reforms to the UK’s immigration system, such as the Global Talent visa and its associated fast track for winners of prestigious prizes are intended to attract talented individuals with STEM skills to the UK. The Committee is interested in whether the UK remains an attractive place for international STEM talent and whether these visa reforms will be effective at attracting this talent.

The Government wants to increase the proportion of UK gross domestic product spent on research and development (R&D) to 2.4% by 2027 from the current 1.74%, as part of its aim to make the UK a “science and tech superpower” by 2030. Increasing R&D spending to such an extent will require a workforce with sufficient STEM skills and teachers with adequate STEM knowledge to educate the next generation. The Committee is interested in the skills the UK workforce is currently lacking and will need in future, and what measures the Government can take to address any skills gaps. This includes what measures can be taken to support workers to retrain and gain new skills mid-career to address key policy challenges such as net zero.

Additionally, the Committee has heard concerning evidence about the growing precarity of academic careers, and the increased pressure on academics. We are interested in evidence on whether academic careers have become less attractive, whether this limits the range of people who pursue scientific research, and what can be done to address these problems.

The Committee will explore questions around these four themes:

  1. What more should be done to make the UK an attractive place for people with STEM skills to move to?
  2. What STEM skills is the UK lacking and what skills are likely to be in high demand in future?
  3. What measures is the Government taking to address any STEM skills gap?
  4. What major challenges face those in academic scientific careers at present, and have these careers become less attractive?

A full list of questions can be found in the call for evidence (see link above).


The Committee invites written contributions to its inquiry by Tuesday 6 September 2022.

Further information