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No European Scientists Left by 2020?
Date:12/14/2011

BRUSSELS, December 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

Business Leaders, European Schoolnet and the European Commission launch €8.3mn initiative to encourage teenagers to study science and maths

European business leaders and education policy makers have launched today an €8.3mn initiative to inspire students to study science at university - a much needed skill set if the region's economy is to recover and flourish by 2020.

InGenious is a new European coordinating body for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education which brings together the collective wisdom of the European Commission, 30 Ministries of Education involved in European Schoolnet and major international companies such as Volvo, Shell, Philips, BASF, Nokia, Microsoft and Intel.

Founded by European Round Table of Industrialists and European Schoolnet, InGenious will:

  • Demonstrate how science and technology skills can help young people get jobs
  • Enhance the relevance of school science by showing how cutting edge science and technology contributes to students' lives
  • Fight stereotypes by giving a more realistic view of scientific jobs, and encouraging women and minorities to consider scientific careers

Lack of scientists threatens Europe's economic recovery

At present Asian countries train twice as many scientists compared to European member states, and three times as many engineers[1].

This training gap is threatening the future of Europe's economic recovery due to the lack of qualified scientific and technical human resources - the key drivers of scientific progress and innovation. Although the number of graduates in the fields is now increasing slowly, their academic achievement falls well behind that of their Asian counterparts according to PISA statistics.

Unless this gap is addressed, companies operating in Europe will need to recruit scientific and engineering talent from other regions, or even close facilities in Europe in favour of other regions. This will have a negative impact on salary levels and local economies - high level R&D is typically a well-paid and resource-intensive activity.

Maire Geoghan-Quin, European Commissioner for Science, Research and Innovation, highlighted the scale of the problem in a recent speech to the Tyndall Institute in Ireland:

"We cannot risk our future growth and competitiveness by cutting back now on the investment in education, research and innovation that is necessary for long-term and sustained recovery," said Ms Geoghan-Quinn.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Western European students the least likely to study science, maths and engineering

An indicator[2] developed by the European Round Table of Industrialists demonstrates that those countries where students are least likely to choose science, maths and engineering are France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK.

At the same time, even Europe's highest scientific achievers - Finnish students - are still outperformed by Chinese students in Shanghai and Hong Kong according to OECD figures[3].

In the recent Eurydice report on science education[4], Androula Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education and Youth, noted:

"Many international reports identify the potential shortage of human resources in key scientific professions and call for modernising science teaching in school. How is it possible to raise the motivation of pupils, to increase their interest in science, and at the same time, to increase attainment levels?" 

InGenious invites companies, educational organisations and federations to join this exciting partnership, and work together to collectively address the challenge of science and technology skills in Europe. The partnership enables existing players to upgrade, pool and enhance their activities in science and technology education through long-term cooperation. For information on how to join InGenious, visit: http://ingenious-science.eu/web/guest/ap-info

Key data on science and technology education

About InGenious

InGenious is the platform of the European Coordinating Body in Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education. It is a joint initiative launched by European Schoolnet (http://www.eun.org)   and the European Roundtable of Industrialists (http://www.ert.eu) aiming to reinforce young European's interest in science education and careers and thus address the future skills gap. It is financed under the European Commission's 7th Framework Research Programme.

About European Schoolnet

European Schoolnet (http://www.europeanschoolnet.org) is a network of 30 Ministries of Education from across the European member states, leading educational innovation at European level. As a major international think tank, European Schoolnet operates key European services in education on behalf of the European Commission, member Ministries.

The Coordinating Body in Maths, Science and Technology (Grant agreement Nº 266622) is supported by the European Union's Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP7). The content is the sole responsibility of the Consortium Members and it does not represent the opinion of the European Union and the European Union is not responsible or liable for any use that might be made of information contained herein.

1. http://ert.eu/ERT/Docs/01717.pdf

2. http://ert.eu/ERT/Docs/01717.pdf

3. http://www.oecd.org/document/53/0,3746,en_32252351_46584327_46584821_1_1_1_1,00.html

4. http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/thematic_reports/133EN.pdf


 

For more information, please contact:

Alexa Joyce, InGenious Project manager, alexa.joyce@eun.org, tel. +32-485-52-30-60

Visit  http://www.ingenious-science.eu


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