Evaluation of the East Midlands Development Agency Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Programme

Client: East Midlands Development Agency | NFER Contact: Karen Halsey

Much research has shown that, in recent years, the popularity of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects has declined (for example, Roberts, 2002; Stagg et al., 2003; Hobsons Group, 2006). This trend is of particular concern given the importance of the science-based economy in the UK (HM Treasury et al., 2004). In 2005, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) identified STEM subjects as ‘strategically important and vulnerable subjects’ in terms of the mismatch between the supply and demand in these areas (HEFCE, 2005).

The East Midlands Development Agency (emda) STEM programme aims to support the development of STEM skills in the East Midlands region and increase the level of STEM literacy in the population in order to increase the flow of people entering the STEM workforce. The programme funds a range of projects which target young people and teachers in both primary and secondary schools through curriculum enrichment activities and continuing professional development (CPD) for STEM teachers. It also aims to increase linkages between education, industry and the public sector. Key to the programme is its links with other STEM initiatives being delivered in the region (for example, the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network (STEMNET)/sub-regional SETPOINTS (organisations delivering STEM activities in their local areas) and Higher Education Institutions (HEI)/Aimhigher), to ensure coherence in the delivery and promotion of STEM provision in the region.

This three year evaluation of the emda STEM programme will aim to document the achievements, learning and impacts of the programme whilst also using findings for on-going improvement. The evaluation will thus be key to informing the current and future development of STEM provision.

Time scale: February 2008 - March 2011

NFER Project Code: EOS

Further information on the project


Higher Education Funding Council for England (2005). Strategically Important and Vulnerable Subjects: Final Report of the Advisory Group [online]. Available: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/Pubs/hefce/2005/05_24/05_24.pdf [14 February, 2008].

HM Treasury, Department for Trade and Industry and Department for Education and Skills (2004). Science & Innovation Investment Framework 2004 - 2014 [online]. Available: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/media/95846/spend04_sciencedoc_1_090704.pdf [14 March, 2008].

Hobsons Group (2006). School-Leaver Recruitment Review 2006. Target Group Report - Subject Chemistry. London: Royal Society of Chemistry.

Roberts, G. (2002). SET for Success: the Supply of People with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Skills [online]. Available: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/media/F/8/robertsreview_introch1.pdf [14 March, 2008].

Stagg, P., Laird, R. and Taylor, P. (2003). Widening Participation in the Physical Sciences: an Investigation into Factors Influencing the Uptake of Physics and Chemistry. Warwick: The University of Warwick, Centre for Education and Industry.