Enabling Government Science and Engineering leadership

This work theme is all about enabling scientists and engineers to show technical leadership at all stages of their career. From discussions with our members, this is a particular area of interest and something we are excited to focus on over the next year!

To develop our strategic aims in this area, we reached out to members to find out what barriers there are for scientists and engineers in feeling like a leader in their area. We found out that when our members think of leaders, it’s not just the chief scientific advisers, but local leaders who help build science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) capability and inspire them to take leadership of their work areas.

Some of our members also said they the GSE profession could play an important role in exploring the different departmental leadership initiatives and leader pathways that exist and communicating these across government. This will help increase access to opportunity and inspire a greater number of members. Another role we want to play is ensuring that STEM specialist colleagues get equal access to central government development schemes and feel confident in applying. We have already started to develop tailored promotion to schemes like the Futures Leaders Scheme for scientists and engineers, but more needs to be done through mentoring and more targeted interventions.

Finally, there was a feeling from our members that more could be done to integrate the values that technical specialists have into government leadership culture. We are working closely with the government reform agenda through the Government Skills and Curriculum Unit who are focusing on leadership and management as one of their main strands of learning. By keeping connected to the heart of government, we want to ensure that scientist and engineering leadership qualities are reflected and valued. We plan to build the profile of science and engineering leaders within teams and organisations; better define what are GSE leadership values at all stages of people’s careers; and give our members clear goals and skills they should be aiming for.

This area will be developing lots over the coming year! To ensure our work is truly representative and useful for our members, we need your help! We are setting up an ‘Enabling GSE leadership’ cross-government working group that will look to develop these projects and help us to influence government leadership culture. We are looking for crown, civil and public servants at all stages of their careers and from a host of different career backgrounds.

If you’re interested in joining this group, please email

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