Birmingham the Launchpad for Drive to Promote Science

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Byline: By Shahid Naqvi Education Correspondent

An attempt to make Britain more sciencefriendly was launched in Birmingham yesterday.

The drive aims to "increase public engagement" in science to help the nation remain competitive when innovation is an economic driver.

Birmingham was chosen because of its science city status to kick-start a four-month consultation that could change the way the subject is taught.

Ministers say it is crucial Britain establishes a "society that can be awe-struck by science, but never dumb-struck".

Speaking at Birmingham's Thinktank museum of science at Millennium Point, Science and Innovation Minister Ian Pearson said children, parents, teachers and researchers, business leaders and media experts would be consulted.

"Engagement is no longer a niche issue among educationalists, but one vital for the country - for our ability to compete in the global marketplace, for the health of our democracy, for the way we face the future," he said. "The potential for science to shape our destiny in positive ways has never been greater. It's essential we secure a sustained commitment from professors and policy makers, journalists and executives to demonstrate the contribution of science openly and compellingly."

Mr Pearson said science was crucial to finding solutions to today's problems such as climate change, global security and disease. He added: "More than that, I want to see a society that understands scientific method - doubleblind testing, peer review, the evaluation of risk - and is better equipped to make sensible choices in this age of information overload. A society that can be awe-struck by science, but never dumb-struck."

Ms Pearson highlighted Midland examples of good teaching, singling out for praise Warwick School and Kingswinford in Dudley. …