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Geological Society and University Geoscience UK release strategy for increasing student enrolment in geology

25 September 2020

Enrolment strategyThe number of UK students studying geology at university has declined year-on-year since 2014, with a total drop of 43%. Without action, the decline in skilled graduates will pose a serious and economically damaging skills shortage in the UK, particularly at a critical time of transition for many industries and businesses that rely on geological expertise.

In June, the Geological Society convened a summit for 50 geoscience educators, academics, industry representatives, and outreach specialists to identify the reasons behind the drop in student numbers, and a series of actions that could help engage students with the Earth sciences and the many professional and personal opportunities offered by a degree in geology. From these actions, UGUK and the Society identified five core strategic aims:

  • Create an effective forum for collaboration between the diverse range of geoscience bodies in the UK, facilitated by the Geological Society, to develop a unified voice for the geosciences and to promote a coherent narrative of geoscience as a STEM subject of vital importance to addressing societal challenges.
  • Engage with various government departments and agencies, to ensure that the importance of the geosciences to meeting net zero targets, addressing the UN SDGs and leading the UK through the energy transition and underpinning “clean and green growth” is recognised and to ensure geosciences are accurately reflected in research and industrial strategies.
  • Develop a unified voice and view of what geoscience encompasses, its place among the STEM subjects, and its importance to society that can been communicated through education and outreach programming.
  • Attract and support people from a diverse range of backgrounds, cultures and genders to become geoscientists, creating a vibrant community fit for the grand challenges facing industry and academia in the UK.
  • Support teachers of STEM subjects, higher education advisors, career counsellors and parents in confidently teaching geoscience concepts and their relevance to society in a way that emphasises geoscience careers as essential to providing solutions for grand challenges and for community development.

In the coming months, the Society and UGUK will organise a series of workshops and consultations among key stakeholders to develop action and work plans aimed at achieving these strategic aims in the next five years.

Notes for editors

  1. Our full report and roadmap is available to view now.
  2. The Geological Society of London, founded 1807, is a learned and professional body of over 12,000 Earth scientists with a remit to investigate, interpret, discuss, inform and advise on the nature and processes of the Earth, their practical importance to humanity, and, in the interests of the public, to promote professional excellence. The Society offers advice to Parliament and Government, at individual and corporate levels. Registered Charity No. 210161.
  3. University Geoscience UK is a national organisation that represents all Earth Science departments in the UK. UGUK’s purpose is to promote discussion and exchange of information between Earth Science departments, and to provide a single point of contact to those university departments.