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1 Whither Mathematics Research ? David Harman Head of Mathematical Sciences.

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1 1 Whither Mathematics Research ? David Harman Head of Mathematical Sciences

2 State of Maths Research On the face of it, Maths research is in good shape. RAE 2008 outcome; IRM High quality research flourishing in a wide range of universities. IRM says that ‘diversity and distributedness’ should be honoured

3 State of Maths Research But, IRM report widespread concern in community about EPSRC’s commitment to Maths and, in turn, EPSRC may be frustrated that the community has not bought into its vision of future research agenda.

4 Nature of Maths Research Maths not typical of disciplines in EPSRC remit. Does not need large-scale equipment and facilities. Does not need concentration in major groups to flourish. Does need funding for visitors, collaborations and PhD students. Much research activity is not funded by RCs - QR may be the largest single source of funding. Researchers also adept at attracting funding from wide range of sources eg other RCs, industry, charities, EU

5 Shaping Capability Should EPSRC to fund more of what already exists? Or, Should it focus funding on leaders for maximum impact at world level and across disciplines ? Shaping Capability agenda appears to imply the latter. This agenda driven by choosing what areas to fund based on excellence and national need.

6 Shaping Capability in Maths Focus in shaping is on areas or topics, not mechanisms. Maths team is gathering knowledge and data. Currently examining connections within Maths and between Maths and other disciplines. Will need a dialogue with the community on best way forward.

7 Simplifying Administration Administration budget reduced by ~33% over 4 years. EPSRC will increase staff effort on ‘programme delivery’. Reduce the number of different schemes to save money. Adoption of Shared Service Centre by all RCs. Maths team will argue for retention of schemes that characterise the mathematical sciences eg small grants.

8 International Review 2010 Publication of report and supporting evidence is imminent. EPSRC view – too many recommendations, no prioritisation. Reflection of community concerns not backed by critical analysis. But there is a clear need for better dialogue between EPSRC and the community to develop a better understanding of each other’s perspectives. Discussion with CMS with a proposal for CMS/EPSRC/SAT meeting in May to look at improved communications. EPSRC will respond to recommendations in the autumn.

9 Conclusion In mathematical terms, maths research has a bright future. UK is 3 rd or 4 th in world terms based on citation data. RAE and IRM confirm high quality of research among widespread groups. In organisation terms, there needs to be a better understanding between the community and EPSRC on how and what to fund. Needs a framework for making choices within shaping capability. Needs recognition by EPSRC that Maths is not the same as Engineering or Physical Sciences.


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