The OR Society welcomes Government funding that will transform the mathematical science landscape

The OR Society, the leading membership organisation for operational researchers, welcomes funding announced by the Chancellor in last month’s Autumn Statement[i] for up to £6m over three years, for the creation of a national Academy focussed on mathematical sciences.

Commenting on the announcement, Seb Hargreaves, Chief Executive at The OR Society said: “It’s heartening to witness the Chancellor’s endorsement of the creation of an Academy that will serve as a formidable champion and ally for everyone within the mathematical sciences community.

“The creation of an Academy devoted to advancing mathematics and data skills is a positive development and we look to proactively engage our members in the many opportunities to collaborate in the future’’.

The OR Society highlight that the UK has long been a mathematical research powerhouse, with six Fields Medallists – an award often described as the mathematical equivalent of the Nobel Prize; world leading universities and a rich history of innovation.

But the potential of UK mathematical science has been hampered by fragmentation between different parts of the mathematical community, and between academics, teachers, policymakers and industry.

The new Academy seeks to change this and transform the mathematical sciences landscape, by bringing together a unified community of mathematical scientists that spans education, academia, industry and the public sector.

The creation of an Academy was a key recommendation of the 2018 Bond Review[ii], an independent review carried out by Professor Philip Bond, aimed at examining knowledge exchange in the mathematical sciences.

Following this review, mathematical groups and individual mathematicians in the UK, coordinated by the Council for Mathematical Sciences (CMS), have been working to develop what such an Academy might look like – akin to the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) or the Academy of Medical Sciences (AcMedSci).

The OR Society has been actively involved in the set up phase as a ‘proto Academy’. The proto Academy conducted a consultation in May 2023 to assist in informing and shaping its development, as well as identifying the initial priorities for the Academy.

Many members contributed to this consultation and together with their Research Committee, The OR Society submitted a consolidated response.

Dr Gilbert Owusu, President at The OR Society said: “I am pleased to see the Academy taken forward with the financial backing required. The establishment of a national Academy will bring together key players in the mathematical sciences, amplifying influence and cultivating cohesion in tackling numerous challenges, many of which operational research has a significant role to play.’’

For more information about The OR Society visit www.theorsociety.com.

[i] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/science-innovation-and-technology-backed-in-chancellors-2023-autumn-statement

[ii] https://www.ukri.org/publications/the-era-of-mathematics/

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