The way forward for STEM

New specialist group will shape Scottish Government strategy.


A new specialist group is to be established to shape the Scottish Government’s STEM strategy, Higher Education, Further Education and Science Minister, Shirley-Anne Somerville has announced.

Ms Somerville said the new national STEM Reference Group will be co-chaired by Scotland’s Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Sheila Rowan and Professor Iain Hunter from the University of Strathclyde. 

Speaking at a conference in Edinburgh, the minister also said the Scottish Government’s STEM strategy would seek to inspire more people to specialise in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects to enable them to maximise their career opportunities. 

Ms Somerville also said that the strategy would outline how the numerous STEM activities, programmes and initiatives already being carried out in Scotland could be better aligned to maximise their impact

The minister also confirmed the publication of an analysis of contributions to the recent consultation on the draft strategy as well as a new report from Young Scot on the views of young people on STEM subjects and aspirations.

Ms Somerville said:

“I want to make STEM education, training and lifelong learning the very best it can be for individuals, educators, employers and the wider economy. STEM is embedded in all aspects of our lives and it will continue to transform and enhance our world. 

“Our draft strategy is about helping to raise the levels of STEM skills and capability for everyone. It is also about encouraging and inspiring more people to specialise in STEM, during their education and training -  but also to return to or progress their STEM learning as adults – so they can make the most of those job, career and life opportunities.

“We need the different STEM activities, initiatives and programmes to be better aligned with one another to maximise their impact. In other words, we need a plan that makes the excellent practice that already exists in individual schools, colleges, universities and communities systemic across the whole country. 

“The strategy will be dynamic and will constantly evolve to meet the challenges of the future and we will establish a reference group to provide external support and challenge to the Government during its development.  I am pleased to say that the Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Sheila Rowan, will co-chair that group with Professor Iain Hunter from the University of Strathclyde.” 


STEM covers subjects in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Further appointments to the STEM strategy Reference Group will be confirmed in due course.

After the strategy has been finalised, this body will be replaced by an implementation group to drive the strategy’s actions.

Read further details on the Scottish Government’s approach to STEM, as well as the analysis of the consultation responses:

Read the Young Scot report on STEM and Young people:


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