More students than ever before are opting to take science related degrees at university – and this trend is also filtering through to our nations schools which are also recording a surge in interest between 5 – 18 year olds.

These results were announced by the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Chief Executive Dave Delpy welcomes this news and comments: “This strengthens the case for supporting our future scientists and engineers”

Dave Delpy goes on to say, “With the increase in undergraduate interest in science and engineering, we anticipate greater numbers of PhD students applying for research funding over the years to come. It is therefore more vital than ever to create a support network for school children to encourage them to engage with science and engineering at an early stage to help them become career scientists and engineers.”

I feel this presents a challenge incumbent on all of us; to help educate and promote, a challenge I am sure we will all embrace with enthusiasum. Many schemes and initiatives are already evident in every day life, and just scanning the national news you will find numerous events from industrial and entreprenureal challenges to polls such as the recent Science Museums poll to vote for the most important invention in science. From a shortlist of inventions such as the Apollo capsule, DNA double helix and the X-ray machine, it attracted an unprecedented number of votes. To find out which invention was voted the most significant visit

We still face a number of worrying issues and claims over poor levels of science literacy and teaching levels in our schools; the Chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Dr Richard Pike claims some exam papers contain absolutely no maths in them and some questions even no science. We have heard many arguments and discussions about the fears of dumbing down science, Dr Pike fears if we do not appoint a rigorous regulator soon then overall standards (even though we are witnessing a surge in interest) will suffer. Ofqual have responded and said it was taking steps to improve science.

This renewed interest in science is an opportunity to bring our best brains to the fore and discuss and engage with our next generation of scientists the challenges facing both the environment and industry at large. We must not only inform but also encourage debate, this will ensure we build on the growing interest in science and tackle head-on some of the disconnect between the quality of teaching and resources open to our young students.

The future can be a bright one for science providing we continue to build the infrastructure in our communities, and awareness and interest in our schools and colleges.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(09)70302-5