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Led by Dr Jane Pritchard

There is a bewildering array of science, engineering and technology (SET) initiatives on offer in the UK, predominantly directed at schools. However, the uptake of students onto science and engineering courses at University is still decreasing. What are the key factors that determine the effectiveness of these initiatives and can we identify a general set of good practice guidelines for current/future scheme organisers?

A need for guidelines has been suggested following a forum discussion of organisations that deliver Materials awareness programmes at a meeting in London this year concerning the Future of Materials organised by the UK Centre for Materials Education. Some programmes aim to raise the general awareness of SET to their audience whilst others are trying to attract students onto science and engineering degree courses (and careers). How can teachers/public find out about the huge number of initiatives on offer and select ones to ensure that they meet their curriculum and time requirements?

These are just some of the questions that we (the UK Centre for Materials Education) are asking a number of current scheme organisers at both the national and local level. Through a series of interviews with the scheme organisers and studies of evaluation and feedback that exist we endeavour to identify the key elements that ensure an effective programme given the different audience we are focusing on. The end result will be a resource available to everyone interested in SET initiatives. It will allow them to identify the key elements that can help to ensure that current/new schemes are effective in raising awareness of science and technology in the audience they hope to attract.

In addition to looking at UK schemes a review is also being undertaken of the Composites on Tour mobile exhibition that is touring through out Europe this summer. The UKCME is one of seven Europeans partners involved in this project that aims to raise the public awareness of composite materials and is funded by the EU. Further information about the exhibition and the other projects that make-up the overall programme can be found by visiting




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