The National Engineering Policy Centre, which represents almost half a million UK engineers, has published a manifesto for a prosperous and secure economy and society, calling on the government to work with them to invest in skills, innovation, digital and traditional infrastructure, and clean energy technologies. 

Published ahead of the forthcoming spending review, the UK’s exit from the EU and a possible general election, Engineering priorities for our future economy and societyhighlights critical policy recommendations to enhance the UK’s status as a world-leading innovation and engineering hub.

The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) is one of the 39 UK leading engineering organisations that forms the National Engineering Policy Centre, which is led by the Royal Academy of Engineering. This is the first joint publication by this ambitious new partnership.

The Centre was established to give policy-makers access to the best independent advice, skills and expertise of the engineering profession, which employs more than 5.8 million people and generates £420.5 billion of UK Gross Value Added (GVA). It aims to apply engineers’ problem-solving skills to some of the biggest challenges faced by the UK today.
There are 20 recommended actions across five key policy areas in the engineering manifesto: 

  • Skills: Implement the recommendations of the Perkins Review, which sets out actions to ensure an adequate supply of engineering talent for our nation, to secure the engineering skills needed for the future. 
  • Innovation: Increase Innovate UK’s budget to boost support for business innovation and the ‘D’ of R&D to increase productivity. 
  • Digital: Deliver fast and resilient digital infrastructure, a thriving business environment, excellent digital skills and a diverse pipeline of workers to create a world-leading digital economy.
  • Infrastructure: Deliver on the recommendations of the National Infrastructure Assessment or set out alternative plans to meet the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs. 
  • Energy and climate change: Deliver on the UK’s ambitious climate change goals by investing in demonstration and deployment of new low-carbon heat, charging of electric vehicles and carbon capture and storage technologies.

Jarka Glassey, IChemE Vice President (Technical), said: “IChemE are delighted to be working with and supporting our peers through the National Engineering Policy Centre. In carrying out our learned society function, it is important that we highlight areas of technical and strategic competence where chemical engineers can make a difference and help effect meaningful change through collaboration.

“Chemical engineers are at the forefront of programmes addressing the Global Grand Challenges we face as a society. They have the problem-solving skills and technical expertise that makes them best placed to give policy-makers advice on how to deal with these issues. 

“But we need the government to take the actions in this manifesto forward; to invest in us engineers, address the skills gap, and give us the political and financial backing to boost innovation and productivity to enable us to effect positive change to the problems we face in our society and environment.”