A friend passed the link to this article to me. The original has a UK focus, but I think engineering leaders everywhere should take this to heart. For example, could you see ISA, SME, IEEE, AIChE and others working together? We still need to develop society’s technical and engineering skills and focus energies on serious problems for our future.

This briefing provides an engineering perspective on the major issues currently facing the UK and highlights five policy priorities for government to address. Engineering the future has identified five key policy priorities for government. These areas of policy, which are addressed in more detail later in this document, can be summarised as follows:

1. Sustaining and encouraging investment in the skills for the future

It is essential that the UK has the skills to compete internationally to create the high-value, technology-based industries of the future. Government should:

  • apply a greater focus on STEM in schools and colleges to ensure that all young people are taught by specialists in each of the scientific subjects
  • provide incentives for industry and in particular SMEs to encourage the provision of apprenticeship places and graduate training
  • give the new engineering-related 14-19 Diplomas time to embed and develop as planned so that they can prove their value
  • ensure the right level of investment in university engineering departments
  • recognise professional qualifications in engineering that strengthen the aspirations of students and apprentices

2. How to make the UK a leader in low carbon technology

The UK must seize the opportunity to develop global leadership both in low carbon energy in order to power a low emission industrial base, and the low energy processes that will make industry efficient and competitive. Government should:

  • put in place a stable, unambiguous and well communicated policy and regulatory framework
  • give priority to research funding for low carbon technologies
  • simplify and reduce barriers to market entry and the costs of doing business

3. Ways of capitalising on the value of the UK science and engineering research base

To realise the full potential of the UK science and engineering research base, greater business support and commercial advice is needed in order to improve the commercialisation of research outputs. Government should:

  • provide incentives for more engineering business to work closely with university departments
  • introduce an expanded R&D tax credit scheme to put the UK ahead of European competitors

4. Harnessing the power of public spending to encourage innovation

Total UK public procurement is worth around £220 billion a year. Government should:

  • implement a more outcomes-focused procurement policy across the public sector
  • set targets and encourage innovation in public procurement, recognising the opportunity costs of failing to do so

5. Making greater use of engineering advice in government policymaking

The delivery of most areas of public policy has an engineering dimension that is best considered at the outset of the policymaking process and before the project commissioning process. Government should:

  • develop the contribution to policymaking of the engineers within the civil service
  • draw upon the expertise of the professional engineering community in a systematic way


With a combined membership of around 450,000 engineers, Engineering the future is a broad alliance of professional engineering institutions and associated bodies. The leadership is provided by a core group consisting of:

  • The Engineering Council
  • EngineeringUK
  • The Institution of Civil Engineers
  • The Institution of Chemical Engineers
  • The Institution of Engineering and Technology
  • The Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  • The Institute of Physics
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering
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