Rebecca Pizzey

A staggering £5 million capital grant from the Higher Education Funding
Council for England was recently given to Brunel University London with the main
intention of shrinking the gender gap.

With the money being used to refurbish STEM facilities, increase apprenticeships
with the Heathrow Aviation Engineering University Technical College, as well as growing
the undergraduate programmes available to prospective students, the ultimate goal is to
contribute towards the balancing of the wage gap between working men and women.

The primary ambition is to develop a STEM Outreach Lab with the intention of
encouraging around 30,000 school pupils a year to take a science, engineering, maths, or
technology based route. This will be with the help of willing Brunel students, who will have
the opportunity to pioneer the cause as STEM Ambassadors.

As the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, Professor Geoff Rodgers, states on the
Brunel University website, Brunel is ‘one of the UK’s top ten universities for STEM and one
of the largest’, which gives us a ‘wider responsibility to helping crack the gender imbalance
issue’.

Of the investment, Civil Engineering student Kirsty Greener says that ‘the investment
will encourage more students to study STEM’. Currently in her placement year at Brunel
University, Kirsty also believes that the introduction of STEM Ambassadors and the
extension of STEM into surrounding schools will result in many school and university
students alike improving on their soft skills and will ‘showcase the importance of STEM,
which will aid the wider community’.