Northern Ireland Election 2017

The Northern Ireland Assembly election on 2 March is a chance to build upon Northern Ireland’s scientific pedigree and help to inspire future generations. Improving access to a physics education, increasing investment in physics-based innovation and effective scientific advice will all make significant contributions to Northern Ireland’s future success.

Northern Ireland Assembly Building

Physics plays an important role in strengthening Northern Ireland’s economic prowess. Businesses that are critically dependent on physics contribute 9.7% of Northern Ireland’s economic output – more than £3.2bn – and employ around 60,000. Physics-based companies such as Andor and Seagate, examples of world leading home-grown success and high-value inward investment to the region, demonstrate the strength of physics innovation in Northern Ireland.

With this in mind, the Institute of Physics in Ireland is encouraging members to get in contact with their candidates to support physics in the new Assembly.

To help you, we have produced a briefing on our priority issues and recommendations for the new executive.

Institute of Physics Briefing – Northern Ireland Election 2017

We recommend that the next Northern Ireland executive should:

  • Review the primary curriculum and explore ways to re-introduce a separate science subject into primary schools.
  • Conduct a review to identify and tackle the barriers to physics becoming a realistic option to pursue at A-level for all students.
  • Invest in opportunities to increase the supply of STEM trained teachers, particularly physics teachers, including offering new funding to train and attract new teachers in Northern Ireland.
  • Commit to providing funding to close the gap between universities in Northern Ireland and England.
  • Work with industry to review the manufacturing base in Northern Ireland and identify opportunities for growth in physics-based industries.
  • Look to implement the recommendation from the 2009 Review of STEM to appoint a national STEM adviser and ensure that they have the ear of the Northern Ireland Executive.

We would be very interested to know what you hear back from candidates. If you receive any responses, or if you are interested in receiving a hard copy of the briefing, please email policy@iop.org.