The RSS welcomes the government's announcement of £300m extra funding for mathematical sciences over the next five years.
The investment will fund 'experimental and imaginative mathematical sciences research by the very best global talent' and forms part of a raft of measures to attract top researchers to attract top scientists, researchers and mathematicians.
According to an announcement from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the funding will be allocated as follows:
- £19m pa additional funding for PhD studentships, doubling current funding, moving to four-year studentships as standard and offering five-year funding for research associates to compete with the US and Europe.
- £34m pa additional funding for career pathways and new research projects, including multi-institutional projects and programmes. This new funding will come with more flexibility on the number and length of fellowships and will not be ring-fenced between sub-disciplines, to respond to the nature of candidate applications each year; and with the freedom to grant small amounts for initial research and early-stage idea generation.
- £7m pa additional funding for new PhDs/research fellows at the Heilbronn Institute (Bristol), and funding to increase participants/workshops by a third at each of the Isaac Newton Institute (Cambridge) and the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences (Edinburgh).
EPSRC also confirms that UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will engage with the mathematics community to consider the best approach to attracting diverse, international talent, and that it will develop an Advanced Mathematics strand within the EPSRC Mathematical Sciences programme to implement the newly announced investments.
Commenting on the announcement, Professor Jon Forster, RSS vice president for academic affairs and chair of the RSS Academic Affairs Advisory Group (AAAG) said: ‘Statistics and mathematics are key drivers of productivity and prosperity, so we welcome yesterday's announcement; in particular, the reference to statistics as one of the disciplines to benefit from the funding.
‘The RSS has been actively campaigning to highlight the importance of funding in this area, both through the work of our Academic Affairs Advisory Group and through the recommendation in our Data Manifesto to “Maintain the commitment to keep pace with other leading scientific nations on investment in research and development".’
The extra funding is part of a wider government announcement around research which also included plans for a new, fast-track visa scheme - the Global Talent route - to attract the world’s top scientists and a major review of research bureaucracy and methods. In the coming weeks, the government will also be consulting world-leading scientists, researchers, academics and industry figures on what more can be done to reduce bureaucracy in research. As part of this, UKRI will look to simplify the process to apply for funding, removing the unnecessary requirement to precisely forecast the long-term benefits of projects with unpredictable results.