Pounds 2m Science Academy to Cultivate Stem Subjects

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Byline: Gareth Evans

ANATIONAL Science Academy will be established in Wales to ensure graduates leave higher education with appropriate qualifications and skills, it was announced today.

The Welsh Assembly Government has allocated pounds 2m funding to deliver the National Science Academy, a commitment under the One Wales agreement.

Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills, Lesley Griffiths, said the facility would promote the take-up of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) subjects.

It will build on a number of existing Stem initiatives to improve the flow of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians into the Welsh workforce.

A study into the take-up of Stem subjects commissioned by the Assembly Government, concluded it was necessary to work on the attitudes and skills of children from Key Stage 2 or 3 in order to trigger a measurable increase in the number of undergraduates in the field.

The NSA will therefore focus on education in Stem subjects from early years education through to further and higher education. The strategic direction of the academy will be provided by Professor John Harries, Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales, who takes up his post in May.

Ms Griffiths said: "We need people with these skills to support the industries and technologies of tomorrow, to drive forward innovation in business, to stimulate research and development in universities and attract investment to Wales.

"The importance of innovation and the role it can play in helping economic growth should not be underestimated. The National Science Academy will have a key role to play in ensuring we have the appropriate skills at the appropriate level to support the development of a vibrant and sustainable knowledge-based economy.

"High-level skills will play an increasingly important role in the economic renewal programme and none more so than in science and technology-based subjects. …