The Era of Mathematics – Review Findings on Knowledge Exchange in the Mathematical Sciences Published

A new report was launched recently at the House of Lords; the Era of Mathematics – an Independent Review of Knowledge Exchange in the Mathematics “We live in the era of mathematics. Its influence permeates economic and social activity and its influence and impact are profound. Yet its role is not well understood, we are not using it as well as we could and should, and we are investing too little.” Lord Nick Stern (2018).

A new review report was launched at the House of Lords; the Era of Mathematics – an Independent Review of Knowledge Exchange in the Mathematical Sciences. With an estimated contribution to the UK economy of over £200 billion annually, and a benefit to cost ratio of 588:1, impact of UK mathematical sciences are profound and varied. The report makes recommendations to ensure in particular that the Industrial Strategy is supported now and in the future by the mathematical sciences – a “powerful engine of innovation”. The review was led by Professor Philip Bond who states:

“The outstanding power of mathematics to clarify complexity, to provide accurate real-time solutions and improve decision making in complex and challenging contexts must be effectively harnessed. In an environment of significant pressure on government and industry to deliver superior services with constrained resources, there is ever increasing impetus for all sectors of the UK economy to engage with the mathematical sciences. Skilled mathematicians of a high calibre are needed and they are in short supply. To support innovation in the UK a larger workforce both within and outside academia is required.”

Driving impact from academia into the economy lies at the heart of the UK government’s Industrial Strategy. The report asserts that taking action now will lead to substantial gains in impact and innovation throughout the economy led by the mathematical sciences. The review, makes recommendations on the following themes; governance, skills, resource & infrastructure, regional and government. Amongst the key recommendations made are:

  • The establishment of an Academy for the Mathematical Sciences to facilitate links between academia, government and industry
  • The creation of a minimum of 100 additional PhD places per year dedicated to training mathematical scientists
  • Tripling of the funding that goes to mathematical sciences

The review came about from a meeting at the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences where it was decided an expert review group be established to gather evidence from across industry, government and academia on successful characteristics, incentives, mechanisms and enablers in the UK innovation landscape for the mathematical sciences. Throughout the process, the review has been supported by Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network and UKRI’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

This review was launched officially on the 26th April 2018 at the House of Lords hosted by Lord Julian Hunt, where university, industry and Government representatives gathered to discuss the recommendations and hear from leading figures. Speaking at the launch, Baroness Neville-Jones said: “Sophisticated mathematics underpins our national security and underlies many advances in cybersecurity which help to protect businesses and institutions and to keep our private data secure”.

Dr Caroline Hargrove, technical Director for McLaren Applied Technologies also spoke at the event and said “If you digitally model your products, systems and services, you can continuously measure and improve your performance. For McLaren, this robust mathematical approach underpins our activities and is essential to remain competitive, whether in Formula 1, automotive or in technology”.

KTN CEO Chris Warkup said: “We’ve been delighted to assist Professor Bond alongside the EPSRC to facilitate this timely review. Increasingly, the work KTN undertakes crosses the boundaries of disciplines and sectors and I am pleased to see multi-discpilinarity a core theme of Philip Bond’s review. I strongly echo Lord Stern’s comments that this is indeed the Era of Mathematics and that there can be ‘few more productive, creative and exciting investments than investing in mathematics’. I hope that the insight and recommendations put forward lead to world leading breakthroughs for society and the wider economy, and look forward to KTN playing a key role in enabling this.”

Download the full report

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