Through the transition of my own career from academic research to science policy, I realized the importance of supporting the universities of the next generation of scholars. Over the years, I have written several articles on the needs of academics who are beginning their careers during their studies, professional development and career both at the academy and beyond. In this essay, I want to emphasize the need for the next generation to be involved in shaping the future of science, technology, engineering and mathematics through policy change.
Scientists starting careers need to have their say in shaping policies that can help them in the short term as well as benefit the scientific system in the long run. I have always advocated for their voices to be heard and their input to be included in policy development, and I want to focus on that idea in this essay.
The future of our country is in the hands of the next generation. Therefore, the participation of students, graduate students, researchers and career beginners in shaping education, training and the labor market in a way that is fair and creates opportunities for all is necessary to develop a better future for our country.
There are several ways to enable future generations to positively influence the future of STEM education and workforce development. Due to the importance of policy change in these spaces, both career and career scholars need a holistic approach to policy making that can benefit the innovators of tomorrow.
Much has been written in STEM about the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the next generation of scientists and their future. Some of the negative effects include reduced access to education and jobs that might have been available before the pandemic, as well as increased mental health problems and feelings of isolation among a significant proportion of STEM professionals starting careers in this country.
However, it can be argued that the pandemic has also had several positive results in education and work, including the transition to virtual learning, which may open up ways for collaboration that may not have existed before. Such an environment has probably also encouraged a number of employers to offer remote positions instead of personal ones or to switch to a hybrid work model.
At the same time, given the dependence of science education, training and jobs on technology, the pandemic is likely to have only widened the digital divide. Young scientists from some countries or regions of the world are still unable to use this technology due to lack of access to the Internet, work computer or other necessary resources that can facilitate their learning and work from home.
In short, because of the pandemic, STEM education and the structure of the workforce on a global scale have changed in a number of ways – both good and bad – that are likely to have changed the landscape of this space forever. In practical terms, these changes could ultimately lead those of us working in higher education to help widen the pathways for young people to the STEM workforce, moving away from traditional pathways.
We can encourage K-12 students to enroll in higher education as a stepping stone to the STEM workforce. We can also help enhance career and technical education for public college students by supporting their professional development so that they can enter the STEM workforce. Indeed, we need to expand the skill sets of students at all levels as they enter a new norm for learning and working in STEM.
Policy changes are also needed to support the future of STEM education and the workforce, and we need to find or build ways for these changes to be detected. One such way is to publish research papers on policy related to this topic.
Recently, Journal of Science Policy and Managementfor which I am the CEO and Managing Publisher, prepared by Fr. special issue in partnership with Sigma Xi, the Society of Honor Research. The special issue invited students, graduate students, researchers, career researchers, and young professionals from around the world to present articles, policy analysis, and other articles that touched on topics at the intersection of science and politics and focused specifically on education. and the labor market. We wanted to hear from them about what is needed to create bold, innovative, timely and equitable policies for the revision of STEM education and workforce development in the post-COVID-19 era.
The articles they wrote focused on issues such as civil science, higher education reform, the inclusion of people with disabilities in STEM education and careers, and the empowerment of STEM employees in the workforce. I invite you to read the special issue to learn what the next generation envisages in terms of challenges and solutions to important policy issues that may reshape the landscape of STEM education and workforce development in the future.
I hope this is the beginning of a debate in which the next generation of scholars is actively involved in the conversations that shape their own future at STEM, and that we continue to follow their innovative ideas for effective, long-term STEM policy change. these spaces. And to bring this circle back, I also hope that universities, where many young scientists study and work, will continue to encourage the next generation to develop and share such ideas to improve our society as a whole.