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IUSS Committee: inquiry into engineering

18 March 2008

The Society has responded to the Innovation, Universities, Science & Skills Committee's inquiry into engineering. In addition to responding to the general engineering inquiry we also responded to the Committee's case study on nuclear engineering.

Engineers are vital to the success of the UK's economy, and to our ability to innovate successfully. In our response we stress that for engineering to thrive in the UK, it is vital that the country has a strong science and engineering base. The number of UK-domiciled students at undergraduate and postgraduate level in engineering has remained broadly static over the last ten years, at a time when student numbers generally have increased significantly. The Royal Society itself is taking a series of practical initiatives to promote engineering and engineering-based innovation in the UK.

Regarding nuclear engineering, a wide range of nuclear skills and expertise, and substantially increased numbers of individuals with these skills, are required if future nuclear activity undertaken by the UK (including decommissioning, expansion, etc) is to be successful. Also, a lack of indigenous nuclear technical skills would diminish the UK's ability to be an intelligent customer since economic, technical, and security judgements might be flawed.