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MPs to examine role of engineering in society

MPs will launch an inquiry into the role of engineering in society to open in the spring, with particular focus on innovation and the skills base for engineering in the UK.

The terms of reference for the inquiry have now been agreed, so the inquiry will look at:

- the role of engineering and engineers in UK society;
- the role of engineering and engineers in the UK's innovation drive;
- the state of the engineering skills base in the UK, including the supply of engineers and issues of diversity (for example, gender and age profile);
- the importance of engineering to Research and Development (R&D) and the contribution of R&D to engineering; and
- the roles of industry, universities, professional bodies, Government, unions and others in promoting engineering skills and the formation and development of careers in engineering.

The Committee has also agreed that the first two subjects for case studies within the inquiry should be nuclear engineering and plastic electronics engineering. Terms of reference for the case studies will be issued separately.

The deadline for written submissions to the general inquiry and for the two case studies is Friday 15 March 2008.

Written submissions should be sent in Microsoft Word (up to 2000) format via email to The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.

Submissions should be no more than 3,000 words. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document should include a brief executive summary.

Evidence should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted no public use should be made of it, but those wishing to publish their evidence before it is published by the Committee are invited to contact the Clerk of the Committee to obtain permission to do so. Guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at:

Committee Membership is as follows:

Mr Phil Willis (Liberal Democrat, Harrogate and Knaresborough)(Chairman)

Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods (Labour, City of Durham)

Mr Tim Boswell (Conservative, Daventry)

Mr Ian Cawsey (Labour, Brigg & Goole)

Mrs Nadine Dorries (Conservative, Mid Bedfordshire)

Dr Ian Gibson (Labour, Norwich North)

Dr Evan Harris (Liberal Democrat, Oxford West & Abingdon)

Dr Brian Iddon (Labour, Bolton South East)

Mr Gordon Marsden (Labour, Blackpool South)

Dr Bob Spink (Conservative, Castle Point)

Ian Stewart (Labour, Eccles)

Mr Graham Stringer (Labour, Manchester, Blackley)

Dr Desmond Turner (Labour, Brighton Kemptown)

Mr Rob Wilson (Conservative, Reading East)

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