EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/F032641/1
Title: Securing the Future: Expanding the cs4fn (Computer Science for Fun) Project
Principal Investigator: Curzon, Professor P
Other Investigators:
McOwan, Professor PW
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
British Computer Society Higher Education Academy
Department: Sch of Electronic Eng & Computer Science
Organisation: Queen Mary University of London
Scheme: Partnerships- Public Engage
Starts: 01 May 2008 Ends: 30 September 2013 Value (£): 661,645
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Fundamentals of Computing
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
11 Oct 2007 Partnerships for Public Engagement Panel Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Computer Science is facing an international crisis. For many reasons, the number of students applying to University to study the subject has been dropping for several years. There are too few Computer Scientists to meet the country's future needs. This problem was singled out as the most significant risk to the UK computing industry in the recent EPSRC International Review. The possible harmful impact to the UK economy is great. To overcome this requires urgent and major, long-term effort.A critical part of the problem is that many children and teachers do not fully understand what Computer Science is. Many do not see either the intellectual challenge or the relevance of computer science to the world around them and are largely unaware of the many subjects computer science touches on. To choose it as a career, students need not only to understand what it involves but must also be enthused. This kind of problem cannot be solved in a short project, but only through consolidated effort over a long period.The ongoing cs4fn project, that this proposal supports, combines a website, magazine and live shows on computer science research using a special off-beat style. We have already shown that cs4fn enthuses school children and helps them understand.This can be seen by the many positive comments of students and teachers we have received as well as, for example, from the numbers of people visiting the website and asking for the magazine. cs4fn has also helped successfully increased University applications locally.cs4fn tackles the significant problems in motivating school students to choose computer science as a subject to study, demonstrating for example the difference between school ICT and Computer Science. It also provides an effective link between school and university study, introducing university level topics through fun activities.cs4fn introduces its readers to the virtues of computational thinking. This is a key part of a computer science education, and many have argued it is the key intellectual skill for the 21st century, preparing students for a wide range of computing and non-computing careers. cs4fn makes readers think about ethical issues and the way new technology shapes society. It also provides a resource to excite students about science and engineering more generally, helping to deal with similar issues in other subjects.This proposal seeks funds to both continue and expand cs4fn to help solve these strategically significant national issues by creating a national marketing campaign around it. We believe that by providing this national resource the general level of applications can be improved across the UK just as we have already achieved locally.To have a wide and lasting impact it is vitally important that the project lasts at least 5 years, not only to reach successive years of school children, but also to reinforce the message both to those children and the teachers who advise them. This extended time is also needed to help other Universities build up skills in communicating the excitement of Computer Science to the public.The effect of the project over the 5 years will be independently evaluated and the lessons learned as to what works, and how, will be shared with others. A business plan for its continued stability will also be developed.
Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL: http://www.cs4fn.org/
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: