We've announced an ambitious new strategy to transform the physics landscape for the UK and Ireland, and ensure a thriving physics ecosystem that will contribute to innovation, discovery, research, growth and debate in the UK, Ireland and beyond.
Unlocking the future
As a society we face an unprecedented array of challenges. Globally, we need to address a changing climate and a growing population, to decarbonise economies, improve healthcare and ensure water, food and energy supplies. Domestically, we need to develop the next generation of industries to create jobs and improve productivity to safeguard citizens’ futures.
Physics has a vital role to play in tackling these issues and helping make the UK and Ireland fit for a new industrial era of science, technology and engineering.
Three challenges, six aspirations
Our strategy identifies three key challenges that present the greatest barriers to unlocking the potential of physics and its impact in society:
- Diversity and skills: We want to build a thriving, diverse physics community and play our part in solving the STEM skills shortage by ensuring that people, no matter their background or where they live, have access to world-class physics education and training.
- Unlocking capability: We want to ensure that the UK and Ireland are able to realise the full societal and economic benefits of the new industrial era.
- Public dialogue: We want to show the impact of physics on people’s lives, enabling informed public debate about funding and policy in areas including healthcare, climate change and cybersecurity.
To meet these challenges, we have six aspirations for the changed world we want to see at the end of the strategy period. This is a broad and ambitious strategy and our aspirations are also ambitious:
- every secondary school pupil in the UK and Ireland will have access to a specialist physics teacher
- girls will make up at least 30% of those taking physics at age 16-19 and there will be double the current number of young people from black and minority ethnic and lower socio-economic backgrounds
- there will be clear roadmaps and funding commitments from the UK and Irish Governments that propel research and development investment towards the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average of 2.4% of gross domestic product
- double the current number of people will be employed in technical roles in physics-based and engineering businesses and the number of those on physics-based science apprenticeships will have increased by a factor of 100
- our publishing services to the worldwide physics community will have further improved such that the number of scientists publishing their research in our journals will grow by 25%
- 10% of the population will have a meaningful engagement with a physics-based public event and 1% will have sustained contact with physics.
These aspirations will serve as measures of our success in driving change for the UK and Ireland.
- Download the summary of our strategy (PDF, 63KB).
Watch our new film which sets out our mission and goals: