A new report has put a figure on the value that mathematical science research (MSR) brings to the UK’s economy.
The report estimates that in 2010, there were approximately 2.8million jobs (around 10% of all jobs in the UK) directly related to mathematical sciences, many in computer science and R&D, with high numbers in aerospace, pharmaceuticals, public administration, banking and finance, construction and education.
As well as direct economic impact, the report also looks at the broader implications that mathematical science research has on society and the economy. Taking into account what the report calls ‘indirect’ and ‘induced economic impacts’ of mathematical science research, it estimates the total employment in the UK attributable to this sector to be nearly 10 million, with a total GVA of £556 billion.
The importance of statistics within MSR was highlighted in the report’s list of three key contributions that the sector makes across the UK’s economy; the ability to ‘make sense of data’ was one, and the ability to ‘forecast, address uncertainty’ was another.
The report also recognises MSR as a driver of long-term economic growth, in terms of creating new tools, techniques, patents and commercial applications as well as contributing to product innovation and greater efficiency.
Professor Frank Kelly, who chairs the CMS, said that the flow of trained mathematical scientists into the industries of the future was critical to the UK’s economic growth prospects. ‘Whole sectors of the economy are transformed by new, essentially mathematical, technologies,’ he said.
Professor Kelly also noted the bright prospects for young mathematicians and statisticians. ‘Young people with an aptitude and interest in the subject will find university mathematics and statistics to be beautiful, challenging and extraordinarily stimulating,’ he said. ‘They should be reassured that, in addition, it is a subject which underpins our 21st century technology, economy and society, and that the demand for trained mathematical scientists is exceptionally high.’
Highlights of the study are available to download here