Focus Areas

National Initiatives and Partnerships

We support a few key national initiatives which aim to increase coordination and collaboration between the wide range of organisations and projects promoting STEM education and careers, and improve communication between government and STEM communities on policy issues.

National Initiatives and Partnerships

Our largest grant in this area has been to establish the National STEM Centre in York. Over time, the Centre, which is co-located with the National Science Learning Centre, will grow into a one-stop-shop for busy teachers looking for quality-assured STEM curriculum resource material, whether it be produced by learned societies, charities, public bodies or commercial publishers.

More recently, our work with Sir John Holman in setting out benchmarks for what good career guidance should look like in England has been highly influential in policy development and our efforts in testing these recommendations continues.  

You can find out more about our current work in this focus area by visiting the Good Career Guidance and Initiatives and Partnerships programmes pages.

Below we have set out some of our previous successes in this area.

Legacy successes

The New Engineering Foundation (NEF) Industrial Fellowship Scheme

In 2005 we helped establish the New Engineering Foundation Industrial Fellowship Scheme, which awards competitive grants to FE colleges to enable science and engineering lecturers to experience secondments in industry, local businesses or universities.

The New Engineering Foundation (NEF) Industrial Fellowship Scheme aims to improve the quality of STEM vocational training in further education colleges by updating lecturers’ skills, competencies and knowledge of industry requirements.

The scheme seeks to empower colleges to gain competitive advantage by updating teaching programmes and developing deeper relationships with local businesses. Equally, the secondments offer the host companies the opportunity to benefit from closer links with local colleges, thus supporting recruitment and training activities.

Gatsby’s support for the scheme will continue until 2015.

New Engineering Foundation (NEF) Masterclasses programme

We funded the creation of the New Engineering Foundation Masterclasses programme, which runs one-day immersion courses to equip FE lecturers with up-to-date knowledge and hands-on experience of new technologies and processes having an impact in industry.

The New Engineering Foundation (NEF) Masterclasses programme comprises one-day immersion courses for further education lecturers and curriculum developers, typically in emerging technologies or other growth areas such as nanotechnology, optoelectronics, advanced materials and composites, nuclear decommissioning, and cloud computing. 

Each Masterclass is run at a company or research centre with industrially-relevant facilities, allowing participants to gain hands-on experience of current and emerging technologies and processes being applied in industry. Throughout the day, participants hear from experts in the field and learn techniques to incorporate new knowledge into their training and education provision. Each Masterclass is further underpinned by web-based support and discussion groups.

Attendance on NEF Masterclasses can count towards the 30 hours professional development requirement of the Institute for Learning’s Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills status, and towards professional registration with the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Gatsby’s support for the scheme will continue until 2015.


We support SCORE, which brings together organisations dedicated to tackling long-term issues in science education to maximise the impact of their efforts to support the development and implementation of effective education policy.

Key players in the science community have become increasingly concerned about a number of long-term trends within science education, in particular the decline in numbers of young people taking A-Level Physics and Chemistry and the unacceptable shortages of specialist teachers in these subjects.

SCORE was established in 2006 to bring organisations together to tackle these long term issues. These organisations believe that the key to maximising the impact of their efforts, especially their influence on government, lies in a greater degree of collaboration. The SCORE partnership currently comprises the Association for Science Education, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the Society of Biology. The SCORE committee meets regularly to discuss key issues on science education and identify common policy areas to work together on.

SCORE provides advice to government and its agencies on issues affecting 5-19 science education. Its priority areas for the next few years are the curriculum; qualifications and assessment; the school and college workforce; and the wider learning experience. The partner organisations undertake collaborative projects to inform their policy advice, conduct joint studies and share best practice. SCORE also seeks to engage the wider science community in the issues in science education through conferences, calls for evidence, task and finish groups, workshops and regular news bulletins.

Gatsby’s current support for SCORE will continue until 2015.


We have supported the Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME), which acts as a single voice for the mathematics education community to government, influencing policies with a view to improving the outcomes of mathematics teaching and learning.

ACME was established in January 2002, by the Royal Society and the Joint Mathematical Council of the UK with the explicit backing of all major mathematics organisations. ACME aims to act as a single voice for the mathematics education community to government, providing an authoritative, credible, balanced and coherent position.

The purpose of having an independent Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education is to enable an effective and constructive partnership between government and the mathematics community. ACME aims to inform and advise the Department for Education in order to assist in its drive to raise standards and promote mathematics at all levels within education. It seeks to complement and enhance, rather than replace, consultative procedures, and aims for positive progress rather than routine opposition to change.

Until 2005 ACME was fully funded by Gatsby, but it now also receives core support from the Department for Education and a range of other organisations across the STEM landscape.

Institute for Manufacturing, Cambridge University

Since 1991 we have provided substantial grant funding to Cambridge University’s Institute for Manufacturing. This support reflects our view that manufacturing is vital to the UK and our desire to foster interaction between universities and industry.

The Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) is the public face of the Department of Engineering’s Manufacturing and Management Division. The IfM takes a distinctive, cross-disciplinary approach, bringing together expertise in management, technology and policy to address the full spectrum of industrial issues. Its activities take place within an unusual structure that integrates research and education with practical application in industry, via a university-owned company, IfM Education and Consultancy Services Ltd.

IfM research is undertaken in close collaboration with companies, ensuring its relevance to industrial needs and the rapid dissemination of new ideas and approaches.  It aims to develop practical solutions to current industrial issues and covers all areas from understanding markets and technologies, through product and process design to operations, distribution and related services.

Research is clustered into a number of research centres. Particular areas of expertise include industrial and innovation policy; the integration of technology considerations into business decisions; international manufacturing and supply networks; strategy and performance; next-generation inkjet technologies; and industrial photonics. Various interdisciplinary, cross centre programmes have been established to address such issues as service and support engineering, industrial sustainability, emerging industries and high value production.

Our support for the development of IfM has comprised grants for a number of specific purposes.  These include the appointment of staff at the IfM to research and engage in knowledge transfer and dialogue with firms; establishing and developing the IfM’s Industry Links Unit and its work with SMEs; and the establishment of the UK Manufacturing Professors’ Conference.  In total we have awarded grants to the IfM in excess of £15 million, including one grant for £5 million towards the capital costs of its building in west Cambridge.

National Initiatives and Partnerships