The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has announced that the research cost weighting for mathematical sciences funding is to be increased from 1.2 to 1.6, following a review by its Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee. The increase will take effect after the next Research Excellence Framework which takes place in 2021.
The announcement follows campaigning by the RSS’s Academic Affairs Advisory Group for maths funding in Scotland to be increased in line with its weighting in the other UK nations. Currently, it receives lower funding than other comparable subjects in Scotland. Representations were also made by others in the mathematical community, including Professor Sir Adrian Smith, who wrote to the SFC on behalf of the Council for Mathematical Sciences.
Guy Nason, RSS Vice President for academic affairs and Ian Strachan, the then President of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society, highlighted the issue in a StatsLife article in 2017. Their article discussed how the lower weight caused the imbalance between subjects and countries of the UK and distorted the perceived comparative value of the mathematical sciences in Scotland.
Commenting on the announcement, Guy Nason said: ‘Statistics and mathematics play an increasingly crucial role in the modern economy and in ensuring economic growth for the future. It is, therefore, excellent news that the Scottish Funding Council has boosted the mathematical sciences funding weighting and brought it in line with other STEM subjects in Scotland and with the rest of the UK.’