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University’s best practice informs House of Commons inquiry

01 December 2007

The University has been held up as an example of best practice in a House of Commons report for its successful collaboration with science centres.

In a nationwide examination led by the Government’s Science and Technology Committee into the long-term future funding of UK science and discovery centres, the University’s strategic link with Techniquest has been cited as an example of the kind of effective co-ordination and collaboration that leads to increased public engagement activities by universities.

The review comes amid concerns about the national drop in numbers of young people opting for study and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and the importance of continued engagement with the public in science and technology.

It also includes evidence from Cardiff’s School of Engineering which supports the widespread and positive impact that science and discovery centres have on many aspects of society including; encouraging young people to pursue STEM careers; benefits for local communities and economies; and the central role they play in influencing public discussion and perceptions of scientific issues.

The University which has seen an increase in applications year on year in STEM subject areas sae both its submissions published in the report, Funding of Science and Discovery Centres, alongwith further evidence from the School of Engineering which has uncovered the need for more robust assessments to clearly demonstrate the positive impact that science centres’ have on communities and the economy.

The Committee has recommended that Government undertakes more in-depth research into the effectiveness of science centres and takes steps in the short-term to better support centres.

Cardiff, along with its partners University of Glamorgan, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, Techniquest and BBC Wales has been chosen as Wales’ only Beacon for Public Engagement. The collaborative partnership successfully bid against 86 other bidders from around the UK and the Beacon for Wales will now lead Welsh universities in making wider contributions to society through engaging communities more fully in partners’ work.