Kings College University : Aspires Project 2014

aspires imageMany governments and organisations are concerned that not enough young people are choosing to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) after the age of 16.

There is also widespread concern that the profile of those who do go on to study STEM subjects and pursue STEM careers is too narrow, with women, working-class and some minority ethnic groups remaining under-represented, especially in the physical sciences and engineering.

Particular STEM fields are predicting or already experiencing significant STEM skills gaps that may impact negatively on the economy. There is also a pressing need to improve the spread of scientific literacy across all societal groups.

The ASPIRES study sought to shed new light on our understanding of how young people’s aspirations develop over this 10-14 age period, exploring in particular what influences the likelihood of a young person aspiring to a science-related career.

The project is a five-year study funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of its Targeted Initiative on Science and Mathematics Education (TISME).

In addition to researching influences on students’ aspirations, the project also worked with a small group of teachers to develop approaches for integrating STEM careers information into science lessons.

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