Recruiting inspirational scientists through UCAS clearing


If, like us, you’ve a few more miles on the clock than most of this week’s UCAS clearing candidates, cast your mind back to 2001, the year many of them were born.

The headline grabbing scientific breakthrough of 2001 was the Human Genome Project’s first draft of the Human Genome Sequence. 

Audacious, globally structured, and quite reasonably billed as biology’s equivalent of the moon landing, the Human Genome Project was the first major consortium-based biology project. A ‘big science’ model of global collaboration which saw numerous scientists work together with a common goal. 

The Human Genome Project combined research expertise from over 20 universities and research centres and included scientists here in the UK working with peers in China, France, Germany, Japan and USA.   

In the UK, 2001 also quietly heralded a demographic change, which like the revelations and opportunities of the Human Genome Project have great relevance for our universities today.

2001 delivered a dip in the UK birth rate. There are approximately 200,000 fewer UK-born people turning 18 this year than last. The birth rate dip lasted till 2002, so the picture will be the same for the 2020 cohort, before bouncing back with a 400,000 increase in 2021.

What does the birth rate dip mean for universities in this clearing cycle? 

In 2018, over 60,000 students made their way to higher education via UCAS clearing. We don’t know what the final numbers will be this year, but it is reasonable to assume there will be some courses running below capacity, given the likelihood of fewer 18 year olds aspiring to study.  

Given added competition for students, what can you do to make sure your STEM courses stand out to discerning millennials? 

It’s just possible some of the scientists you recruit now will go on to participate in the ‘big science’ projects of the future. We aim to help you widen the talent pool and support students across disciplines as they learn science. 

Adding Learning Science will show you help students learn in a supportive and progressive way. Students invest significant amounts of time and money in higher education and naturally expect a high-quality academic experience. Excellent teaching and student outcomes undoubtedly help prospective students choose where to apply. 

Our tools augment what you do in the lab and in the lecture hall. Showing our resources at open days, in prospectuses, and on social media will add to your appeal. Quickly signalling to prospective students that you’ll support them well. 

Whilst valuable to all students, there are some for whom we make an even greater difference. Our university partners tell us we help them widen participation, especially among students from lower income households, from international backgrounds, and those with additional learning needs. 

We help you demonstrate that study is achievable. That means with our support you can unlock the potential of scientists who may otherwise find the learning environment daunting.

If you’ve missed the opportunity to show prospective students in this clearing cycle that Learning Science is part of your science teaching toolkit, talk to us today. Let’s work together to impress the 2020 intake. 

And, if we’re preaching to the converted, please let your peers know how we help. Encourage them to add Learning Science to their courses too. 

Good luck with clearing 


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