Disciplinary Pilot Projects

The National HE STEM Programme built upon the work of four disciplinary pilot projects that were funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England in 2005 and 2006.

Chemistry for our Future

From 2006 to 2008, HEFCE funded the Royal Society of Chemistry to deliver Chemistry for our Future – a £3.6 million pilot programme to enhance young people’s experiences of chemistry both in and out of school and in undergraduate chemistry courses. With an additional £1.65 million, Chemistry for our Future continued in an extension phase from September 2008 to July 2009. The Royal Society of Chemistry commissioned the National Foundation for Educational Research to evaluate the Chemistry for our Future programme, including its development and progress over the years, the outcomes and impacts for school pupils, university students, teachers and higher education institutions, and the opportunities and challenges for sustaining and embedding Chemistry for our Future work.

The following evaluation reports are available for Chemistry for our Future:

  1. Extension phase report
  2. Report on the first year of the evaluation   

London Engineering Project

The London Engineering Project ran from September 2005 to July 2009. It took engineering activities into London schools to inspire young students in STEM subjects and careers. The project was developed by a cohort of 15 partner organisations, led by the Academy, with a remit to:

  • Educate and enthuse young people about the positive applications of engineering
  • Transform schools’ science and maths, increasing and improving student skills
  • Widen participation and improve social inclusion in engineering
  • Promote and protect engineering as a strategic subject

It worked in 40 Southwark and Lambeth schools and in four higher education institutions. A team of dedicated field workers, mentors and project managers delivered STEM activities in these schools, enriching and enhancing school learning within the national curriculum. In universities, the project funded, developed and delivered brand new, socially relevant engineering courses to encourage and diversify participation in engineering higher education. Adult learners, women, black and minority ethnic groups and students from families with no history of engagement in higher education were specifically targeted.

The following reports are available for the London Engineering Project:

  1. The London Engineering Project - Pioneering engineering education
  2. The London Engineering Project – Evaluation Report
  3. The London Engineering Project – Evaluation Report Appendices 

More Maths Grads

More Maths Grads was a three-year project funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England to develop, trial and evaluate means of increasing the number of students studying mathematics and encouraging participation from groups of learners who have not traditionally been well represented in higher education.

The More Maths Grads project was delivered by teams in three areas, the West Midlands (led by Coventry University), East London (Queen Mary, University of London), and Yorkshire & the Humber (University of Leeds), for the years 2006 to 2009, while Sheffield Hallam University undertook a national study to assess the higher education curriculum and to try to increase the scope of mathematics courses to allow real choice for a wide range of students.

The following documents are available that describe the More Maths Grads project and its outcomes:

  1. More Maths Grads – Final Report
  2. More Maths Grads – HE Curriculum Report   

Stimulating Physics

The Stimulating Physics Programme ran from May 2006 to July 2009. The core aims were to find ways of increasing the numbers of students taking physics at A-level and progressing onto a degree in physics. The Programme was split into two distinct but complementary strands:

  • The ‘Access’ strand was concerned with improving the accessibility and marketability of physics-based degrees to students who do not traditionally study the subject at higher education level
  • The ‘Demand’ strand was concentrated on a cluster of schools chosen to match the target group, with the intention of piloting activities designed to increase students’ motivation to continue with physics to A-level and beyond