Department for Science, Innovation and Higher Education (Consejería de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidad) is a ministry of the government of the Principality of Asturias (Spain). In a nutshell the department has three Directorates-General dedicated to specific fields of expertise.
Each DG is headed by a director-general, who reports to the regional minister in charge of the corresponding policy area. The structure is completed with the Asturian Council for Science, Technology and Innovation, an advisory body that provides independent advice and support to aid management and directors in the design and evaluation of RDI strategies and policies. Members comprise key actors of the regional RDI ecosystem including University, Research Centres, Businesses and Trade Unions.
The department has a 5-year Regional Plan for Science, Technology and Innovation (Plan de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación del Principado de Asturias 2018-2022) (PCTI). The PCTI targets a range of actors in the triple helix: Research, Business, Education and expands the scope of the previous regional plan (2013-2017). Five strategic goals have been identified:
A set of perfomance indicators have been defined for each strategic goals. Indicators will be tracked on a yearly basis. The PCTI total budget for the period 2018-2022 is 447.5 million euro.
The regional STEM strategy (ASTURIAS 4 STEAM) is one of the actions envisaged to fulfill strategic goal #1 (“Improve human capital in RDI”). The programme focuses on Primary, Secondary and VET education and seeks to generate interest in STEM, equip younger people with a set of useful competences for their personal and professional life and raise aspirations to pursue professional careers in STEM. In the first year of operations (2019) the region has:
The baseline study debunks with evidence some of the taken-for-granted assumptions and negative messages directed at our education system. Asturias' performance in international assessments (TIMSS and PISA) is slightly above both the national and EU-average. And the same applies for interest in science (based in PISA latest data). Having said this, there’s ample room for improvement, i.e redressing not only the gender but also the socio-economic imbalances in STEM participation, tackling the high early leaving in Engineering careers but the starting point is not as bleak as initially suggested.
On the employment side, our analysis of regional labour market data for STEM occupations brought to surface the need to provide a more nuanced version of the “employability of STEM graduates”. Not all STEM qualifications secure a job, skills shortages are concentrated in very specific STEM sectors but more importantly most urgent imbalances are not on the supply but on the demand side. And they have to do with the structure (job polaristaoin) and size of our regional labour market (as compared to other regions) and the quality of employment (short-term contracts, low wages, precariousness)