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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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Only 21 per cent of the national higher education physics undergraduate population are female and the percentage is even lower for engineering and technology. This presents a challenge to the equality and diversity of these subjects and their long-term sustainability.

NUSTEM (previously known as Think Physics) was set up to address this challenge through a unique and innovative regional partnership that targets all stages of a child's journey to higher education and beyond. It integrates best practice from previous outreach, widening participation and gender projects in physics, STEM and other strategically important subjects and is strengthened through a partnership working with other organisations in the region.

The result is an imaginative, innovative and holistic support scheme that inspires, excites and engages children through their journey into physics and related STEM disciplines. With a focus on increasing science capital and career awareness among young people, the project aims to increase the science capital of children and families in the North East and ultimately lead to an increase in the uptake of STEM careers among females and other under-represented groups.

A central outreach hub, the Think Lab, has been created at Northumbria University with both a physical and digital presence. The project has a number of different partners and works with a wide range of different stakeholders to target both the children themselves and their wider support network: teachers, parents and carers, families, wider community. Our partners include schools, local authorities, employers, charitable trusts, professional bodies, and cultural venues.

Project information

Catalyst funding £1,176,716
Total project funding £3,081,408
Project contact Dr Rebecca Strachan  

0191 227 3979

Project website

Page last updated 16 March 2018

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