SSPC, Science Foundation Ireland Education and Public Engagement PhD Opportunity, Science Capital for Youth Equity in STEM. In Ireland, the UK and many other countries there are long-standing patterns regarding who continues with science post-16. In the physical sciences—and engineering in particular—women, working-class and some ethnic groups are notably under-represented. There are many reasons for increasing and broadening participation in science. For governments, a key issue is the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to national economic competitiveness, especially given a predicted future skills shortage.