A Theory of Change for improving children's perceptions, aspirations and uptake of STEM careers

Carol Davenport, Opeyemi Dele-Ajayi, Itoro Emembolu, Richard Morton, Annie Padwick, Antonio Portas, Jonathan Sanderson, Joe Shimwell, Jane Stonehouse, Rebecca Strachan, Leanne Wake, Gary Wells, John Woodward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is concern about the low numbers and diversity of young people choosing careers and study subjects in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) at university and beyond. Many interventions aimed at addressing this issue have focused on young people aged 14+ years old. However, these interventions have resulted in little improvement in the numbers and diversity of young people progressing into STEM careers. The aim of this study is to ask “What are the affordances of a Theory of Change (ToC) for increasing the diversity and number of young people choosing a career in STEM post-18?” An innovative ToC is introduced which provides the theoretical underpinnings and context for the complex mix of interventions necessary to lead to a significant change in the number and diversity of those choosing STEM careers. Case studies of interventions developed using the ToC are presented. This approach, and associated ToC, is widely applicable across STEM, education and public engagement fields.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalResearch in Science Education
Issue number2020
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2020


  • children and young people
  • diversity
  • STEM education
  • careers
  • Theory of Change
  • Science Capital

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