Brits lift lid on need for more investment in technology and skills to help prevent future pandemics and climate change

Concerned Britons believe the nation needs to do more to improve its pandemic preparedness and tackle climate change.

The effects of coronavirus restrictions continue to take their toll, and across the UK public awareness of improving care and crisis management capacity is rising.

More than four in five of us (83 percent) think it’s imperative that the country invest more in new technology and skills to improve our ability to address key issues like pandemics and climate change, with nearly nine in ten (89 percent) ) believe that the use of technology is vital to the future of the economy.

And with a large portion of our investment in young people, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) admit that the current focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Technology) in schools is not, and could be, not enough to future-proof the UK make our society vulnerable in the years to come.

These new insights come as IBM launches a new campaign to encourage uptake of STEM subjects among young people. The company has released a series of videos for school children explaining quantum computing, an emerging technology with the potential to tackle big societal issues like sustainability and climate change.

Dr. James Wootton, a quantum researcher at IBM, said, “Quantum computing is a really good example of a new technology that requires STEM education and skills. It promises breakthrough applications in almost every sector, such as better batteries for electric cars, faster discovery of new drugs, or the discovery of new materials for things like solar panels or carbon capture.

“But to seize this opportunity, the UK needs to ensure that young people develop skills in the right areas.”

However, the British are determined that this trend will change, with almost all of us (94 percent) claiming that children with a good STEM education have numerous benefits.

Whether it’s helping young people understand the world around us (71 percent), promoting problem-solving skills (69 percent), improving career prospects (66 percent), or supporting innovation and future economic growth (57 percent) ), the nation is key to ensuring that young people are taught the skills they need to keep the UK safe for the future.

IBM has extensive and successful programs, including P-TECH and SkillsBuild, to fill these skill gaps, and made a commitment in October to educate 30 million people worldwide by 2030.

The new video series, What How Why, invited students from schools and colleges in London, Leeds and Dublin to ask IBM research experts directly to explain quantum computing. Introduced by teacher and mathematician Bobby Seagull, these conversations covered what quantum computing is, why it matters to the skills you will need in the future, and how it will change the world you grow up in.

And Dr. Wootton added, “The videos have helped us explore quantum computing in terms that are understandable to everyone, the applications and skills it will need for a future, and the impact it can have on some of the great challenges we face .

“While we made these videos for young people, they are a great introduction for anyone looking to demystify quantum computing and understand its potential to change the world.”

To watch the new video series, visit the IBM UK & Ireland Think blog: https://www.ibm.com/blogs/think/uk-en/what-how-why-quantum-explained/

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