Balance of Programme Exercise - Skills


In line with STFC’s new process for Programme Evaluation, the organisation’s skills activities will be reviewed in a Balance of Programme (Skills) exercise taking place in 2017.

The purpose of the Balance of Programme (Skills) exercise is to periodically review the balance of activity and funding across STFC’s skills programme.  Community input into the review will be sought through the relevant STFC Advisory Panels.

The overall objective is to maintain a desirable skills programme balance for the next 5 year period.

For the purpose of the review, STFC’s skills programme is defined as formal, funded training and engagement schemes in the following skills areas;

  • Graduate trainees
  • Apprenticeships
  • Studentships
  • Fellowships
  • Public engagement

Balance of Programme

A Sub-group of the Skills and Engagement Advisory Board (SEAB) will review activities across these areas and recommend to STFC’s Executive Board the appropriate balance of skills activity. The Terms of Reference are provided below.

The review will be informed by the recommendations of the Balance of Programme (PPAN) review that concluded in spring 2017, and will work within the frameworks set out in STFC’s Corporate Plan and Delivery Plan.

The Sub-group will consider the skills programme both within a realistic financial climate, and under an optimal scenario in which financial constraints are removed. The resultant recommendations should address an appropriate balance of skills activities for immediate consideration under current financial conditions, and also identify additional activities not supported in the current funding scenario to help STFC to exploit future funding opportunities.

Ultimately, the review will inform STFC’s future strategic direction by making recommendations to STFC Executive Board.

STFC Executive Board has responsibility for the overall balance of STFC’s skills programme. The Board will use strategic advice through Balance of Programme reviews and individual programme evaluations, alongside strategic financial planning, to inform their decisions. Under a challenging funding environment there is an even greater need for robust information to underpin critical decisions, and the current Balance of Programme (Skills) exercise is one tool through which this information will be generated.

Community input into the review will be provided via the relevant Advisory Panels: PPAN Advisory Panels, Computing Advisory Panel, Life Sciences and Soft Materials Advisory Panel and the Physical Sciences and Engineering Advisory Panel during the research and analysis phase of the review.

The aim is to complete the Balance of Programme (Skills) exercise and present it to the Skills and Engagement Advisory Board and STFC Executive Board by the end of 2017.

The webpage will be updated as the review develops. If you have any general questions please contact Dr Emily Swaine.


SEAB Sub-group Membership

Balance of Programme SEAB Sub Group

The purpose of the Balance of Programme exercise is to ensure the balance of STFC’s skills programme is the most appropriate to deliver STFC’s core research programme, to help meet STFC’s skills requirements and to contribute to the skills needs of the relevant industries and of wider society.

For the purpose of the review, STFC’s skills programme is defined as formal, funded training and engagement schemes.

The SEAB sub-group will identify the most appropriate balance between STFC’s key skills areas (including development for future opportunities) identified as:

  • Graduate trainees
  • Apprenticeships
  • Studentships (including DTP, data-intensive science CDT, CASE and grant-funded studentships)
  • Fellowships (of different kinds)
  • Public Engagement

Recommend the appropriate balance of programme to ensure provision for STFC’s highest strategic priorities for skills development, for the following financial scenarios:

  • Flat cash
  • Flat cash + / - 5%
  • Optimum scenario

The SEAB sub-group will provide recommendations to SEAB.

SEAB will make recommendations to EB and Council in the autumn of 2017.

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000