The Chancellor's increased commitment to science and innovation cannot be achieved without a strong supply of scientists and engineers - which makes the Budget announcement to raise education spending excellent news, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) said today.
Dr Philip Wright, ABPI Director of Science and Technology, said: "We welcome the Government's intention to drive science and innovation in the UK - but it will be impossible without a strong supply of scientists and engineers.
"Government must move away from an arbitrary 50 per cent target for participation in higher education and ensure undergraduate science courses are funded effectively.
"Pharmaceutical companies are playing their role in attracting bright students into science - Government must also rise to the challenge."
To help reverse the decline in students taking science-based A-levels and to encourage more students towards science, maths and technology, as well as on to higher education, the pharmaceutical industry is engaged in activities so that youngsters learn about the way business enterprises operate, together with working roles and conditions, and rights and responsibilities in the workplace.
The pharmaceutical industry's wide-ranging programme covers financial assistance for bids from schools to gain specialist status to identifying managers to become "scientist in residence" at particular schools; from supporting the Government's Science and Engineering Ambassadors Scheme to running science masterclasses; from sponsorships and awards to visits and careers fairs.
Work-related learning within the national curriculum will be implemented in September. It is defined as planned activity that uses work as a context for learning and encompasses a broad range of activities allowing students to experience working life.
ABPI backs this development as it will ensure that the degree of support being provided by other sectors of industry - and that already established in the pharmaceutical industry - operate to uniformly high standards.
Among the numerous projects being run by pharmaceutical companies are:
For further information, please contact: ABPI Press Office 020 7747 1410