The National Engineering Policy Centre, which represents nearly half a million UK engineers, has put forward proposals for a more prosperous and secure economy and society, calling on government to work with them to invest in skills, innovation, clean energy technologies, and digital and traditional infrastructure.
Engineering priorities for our future economy and society highlights critical policy recommendations to enhance the UK’s status as a world-leading innovation and engineering hub, ahead of the forthcoming spending review, the UK’s exit from the EU and a possible general election.
This is the first joint publication by the National Engineering Policy Centre, an ambitious new partnership between almost 40 of the UK’s leading engineering organisations, led by the Royal Academy of Engineering.
This engineering manifesto includes 20 actions across five key policy areas:
Implement the recommendations of the Perkins Review, which sets out actions to ensure an adequate supply of engineering talent for our nation, to secure the engineering skills needed for the future.
- Ensure the funding for further education colleges reflects the higher cost of providing engineering programmes.
- Introduce a requirement for 40 hours of subject-specific continuous professional development (CPD) every year for STEM-subject teachers.
- Give employers greater flexibility on spending their Apprenticeship Levy.
- Invest in understanding what works in interventions that promote the uptake of engineering education.
Increase Innovate UK’s budget to boost support for business innovation and the ‘D’ of R&D to increase productivity.
- Increase Innovate UK’s budget.
- Increase and diversify Official Development Assistance (ODA) allocation to engineering and technology.
- Deliver measures that encourage investment in R&D by businesses.
- Publish a roadmap for increasing the UK’s percentage of GDP invested in R&D from 1.7% currently to 2.4% by 2027.
Deliver fast and resilient digital infrastructure, a thriving business environment, excellent digital skills and a diverse pipeline of workers to create a world-leading digital economy.
- Drive the establishment of world-class digital connectivity and infrastructure.
- Ensure that funding for new digital technologies and processes includes requirements to address cybersecurity.
- Provide targeted support for the development, commercialisation and adoption of digital technologies.
- Make computing courses appealing to a wider range of young people in school.
Deliver on the recommendations of the National Infrastructure Assessment or set out alternative plans to meet the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs.
- Maintain, as a minimum, the current level of funding for economic infrastructure.
- Include airport capacity in future National Infrastructure Assessments and devolve powers and funding to cities.
- Demand all public bodies publish forecast costs and benefits of their major infrastructure projects.
- Incentivise the uptake of offsite manufacturing for construction.
Energy and climate change
Deliver on the UK’s ambitious climate change goals by investing in demonstration and deployment of new low-carbon heat, charging of electric vehicles and carbon capture and storage technologies.
- Invest in large-scale demonstration for heat technologies.
- Support the large-scale demonstration of carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS).
- Roll out of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
- Increase investment in whole-system, large-scale integrated multi-technology pilots of low-carbon technologies.
The National Engineering Policy Centre
The National Engineering Policy Centre was established to give policymakers access to the best independent advice, skills and expertise of the engineering profession, which generates £420.5bn (25% of total UK GVA) and employs more than 5.8 million people (19% of the total UK workforce).
It aims to apply engineers’ problem-solving skills to some of the biggest problems the UK faces today.
You can download a full copy of the Engineering priorities for our future economy and society report here.
*All images courtesy of the National Engineering Policy Centre