IOP launches new five-year strategy

26 February 2015

The IOP has published a document setting out the direction it will take over the next five years.


The Institute of Physics Strategy 2015-19 lays out the IOP’s priorities, focusing on such areas as widening opportunities to study physics, supporting businesses in exploiting new leading-edge science, broadening the prospects for early career physicists and increasing the potential for working across traditional discipline boundaries.

The strategy also looks to significantly increase the IOP’s public outreach programmes and to continue to grow its already diverse and active membership.

The IOP’s chief executive, Prof. Paul Hardaker, said: “Times change, and any organisation that wants to stay relevant and effective must change with them. We can improve the value and impact that we deliver by being focused and working more closely with others. It’s an ambitious strategy and we know we can’t deliver this on our own. We must remain a trusted and respected organisation and one with which people will want to work.”

A key focus of the strategy will be greater engagement with the members of the Institute. One of the targets in the strategy, for example, is to see at least a quarter (some 12,500 people) of the IOP’s members participate in an Institute activity in each year covered by the plan. Prof. Hardaker said: “We want to offer more opportunities for members to volunteer and to play a more active role in delivering the new strategy.”

The IOP will also aspire, the strategy says, to increase participation in its outreach activities from the current level of about 100,000 people each year to one million each year. “We want to do more to engage with the growing enthusiasm that people have to know more about the role that physics plays in helping us to understand the world around us and in addressing our biggest societal challenges,” Prof. Hardaker said.

The strategy document outlines some of the work that the IOP is already doing in education, the economy and research, and describes some of the progress that has been made as well as the IOP’s determination to build on these achievements.

In education, for example, it pledges to improve the recruitment and retention of specialist physics teachers until the significant shortage is overcome. The IOP also aims to increase the proportion of 16- to 19-year-olds studying physics by 10%, and to increase the proportion of girls studying physics post-16 from 21% to 30% over the five-year period. So many girls are denied the opportunities that a career in physics brings, the strategy says.

Recent successes, such as the Superposition artwork at the London Canal Museum and the IOP Innovation Awards for physics-based businesses, are celebrated as examples of stepping stones on which the IOP wants to build. The strategy document also describes new areas of work for the future, such as launching a new professional accreditation process for technicians and further education providers. It also looks forward to the role that the Institute’s new home in King’s Cross will play; the refurbished building will open in late 2016.

The IOP is soon to publish a business plan that describes in detail how the strategy will be delivered. The Institute is keen to hear comments about the strategy: email, tweet us @physicsnews, or write to the Institute of Physics, 76 Portland Place, London, W1B 1NT.

Download the IOP's strategy

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