19% of North West students don't feel smart enough to pursue a career in science

Date published: 21 March 2019

Research reveals that whilst over three quarters (76%) of teenagers aged 14 to 18 from the North West said they enjoy science classes, only a quarter (26%) would consider a career in the field of science, such as medicine, research and pharmaceuticals. 

The UK is awash with pioneers when it comes to cutting edge science, with no fewer than 10 Nobel Laureate winners over the past 10 years alone, yet, the UK is facing a major black hole in science, running the risk of falling behind the rest of the world unless the matter is addressed.

A new study by Roche, a leader in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics which employs more than 90,000 people globally, looks at the reasons why students are turning their backs on science.

The study also found that while more than three quarters (76%) of children say that science is ‘fun’, interest drops into a black hole when it comes to turning that enjoyment into a career choice – even though 76% believe that studying the subject would lead to great job opportunities.

'Flashes and bangs' science demonstrations
'Flashes and bangs' science demonstration in school

The reasons for this huge fall in interest seems to be complex. Almost a fifth (19%) of kids say they feel they are not bright enough to pursue a career in science. On top of this, over half (57%) say they are not even going to university because they can’t afford it and it’s not worth the debt.

Claire Jarvis, Pharmacist and Pipeline Lead at Roche UK said: “The UK’s position as a world leader in science innovation is at risk if the field cannot attract new talent from our schools and universities. Science underpins some of the greatest developments and discoveries in history, from penicillin to putting mankind on the moon.  

“I’m privileged to work in a fulfilling and rewarding sector which has the potential to find a cure for cancer or develop medicines which can change people’s lives. It’s critical that our next generation is inspired in the right way so they can make a huge change in the world.”

Roche is inspiring the next generation of Scientists with its GenerationeXt initiative, a programme of activity that aims to inspire and motivate students to pursue a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Through a series of interactive workshops and classes, the programme aims to show the next generation how exciting and rewarding a career in STEM can be whilst giving them the potential to change the world. 

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