Why is STEM important for society?

Our Science Museum Group vision is for ‘a society that celebrates science, technology and engineering and their impact on our lives, now and in the future’. So why is this such an important cause?

Love it, hate it or never really think about it? Science isn’t just a school subject – in one form or another, it is continually changing and improving the way that we live our lives. It makes and sustains our modern society and will help us to understand and solve the big questions that our world faces.

Boy careersScience isn’t even just for scientists, it is a creative and imaginative human endeavour. A way of thinking, asking questions and observing and exploring the world around us, to seek evidence and find answers. As such, it can open doors and can be invaluable in almost any job, across any sector.

By 2030 the U.K. will have over 7 million jobs needing STEM skills and it has been recognised that science can help broaden young people’s life choices and opportunities in terms of keeping their future options open, especially among low socioeconomic groups, as it can help social mobility[1].

However, those who are currently engaged with and are shaping science fall into roughly the same traditional, gender, ethnicity, class and social groups[2], meaning that only a narrow section of our society currently have a voice and are impacting the future and direction of science.

If we can help more people to engage with science, by building their science capital, it will not only help to attract a broader range of people for new STEM jobs, it will bring more diversity to the people who contribute and participate in science and innovation which will create a fairer, and more inclusive society.

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[1] OECD, “Against the odds”, 2011

[2] Archer et al… “Science capital: A conceptual, methodological, and empirical argument”. 2015

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