STEM skills and academic career precarity in the UK
The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee will hold the third evidence session of its inquiry: People and skills in UK science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
This evidence session will be focused on STEM skills in the UK and UK lifelong learning policy, as well as the precarity of academic careers and what can be done to address it.
The inquiry so far has heard that there is a significant STEM skills gap in the UK and that more can be done to ensure the workforce is well-trained. This high-skilled workforce is also critical to deliver on key policy objectives such as achieving net zero. In the first panel, the Committee will seek perspectives from industry representatives and education policy commentators about the UK’s skills and adult learning policy. It will seek to learn whether the Government’s current policies are sufficient to meet this challenge. The second panel will focus on the precarity of academic careers, and whether academic research careers are becoming less attractive over time, as well as what the Government can do to address this problem.
Possible question areas
- Specific areas of STEM skills that the UK is lacking in now and will need in the future, and the perspective of industry on these
- The adequacy of any measures the Government is currently undertaking for lifelong learning, including the lifelong learning entitlement
- Whether academic and research careers are growing less attractive over time, and whether anything can be done to address the precarity of these careers
- Whether the structure or nature of PhD courses or postdoctoral employment should be changed to better equip Early Career Researchers (ECRs) for a range of roles
- Whether there is anything the Government can learn from international competitors, or successful policies pursued by previous governments, to address the skills gap and academic precarity