Prof Joe Smith, director of the Royal Geographical Society, Prof Sir David Cannadine, president of the British Academy, and Prof Norman Gowar respond to a Guardian editorialYour editorial in defence of the humanities (13 March) is well timed and well argued. The UK needs the contribution of Stem graduates and that made by graduates with knowledge, skills and understanding gained through study of the humanities and wider social sciences. And geography, a subject that is a humanity, a social science and has part Stem designation in higher education, is well placed to make such a contribution.
For example, the cabinet office’s geospatial commission estimates that UK plc can gain £11bn through the better use of the geospatial data held by organisations including the Ordnance Survey, Land Registry and the Hydrographic Office. Yet this can only be achieved if we have enough graduates trained to understand how such data can be used to benefit our communities, environments, businesses, and policy decisions – training which is provided through the study of geography.