ICMS Awarded £5 Million

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ICMS Awarded £5 Million

21 Jan 2021

£5 Million Award

The International Centre for Mathematical Sciences (ICMS), Edinburgh, has been awarded a £5 million grant to enhance the mathematical sciences community over the next five years.

ICMS stimulates and promotes the mathematical sciences through diverse international workshops & conferences. Their vibrant events programme attracts leading mathematical scientists from the UK and internationally - connecting mathematical communities across the world.

The £5 million grant, funded by the UKRI (UK Research and Innovation), will increase the range and scope of what ICMS do:

  • Advance the mathematical sciences by fostering collaborations between researchers
  • Strengthen and connect international research communities, encouraging their equality, diversity and dynamism
  • Stimulate the impact of mathematical innovation across disciplines and industries

The grant will enable ICMS to run more ground-breaking research workshops across the country, to increase support enabling small groups of researchers to meet to develop new ideas, and to create new initiatives to support UK-based mathematical scientists’ research aspirations at all career stages. Additionally, the funding means that ICMS will have both the resources and the expertise to partner internationally in the delivery of more environmentally sustainable distributed events. 

Government Investment

ICMS has been awarded the funding alongside the Isaac Newton Institute (INI), Cambridge and the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research (HIMR), as part of a £300 million Government investment in the mathematical sciences, announced in 2020.

EPSRC Executive Chair, Professor Dame Lynn Gladden, said:

“The Isaac Newton Institute, the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences and the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research are internationally respected, flagship investments in the UK’s mathematical sciences community.

“This funding will support them to continue providing high quality research and knowledge exchange activities.”

ICMS is funded by the UK Government to run international research workshops across all areas of the mathematical sciences, including statistics and operational research. These workshops establish long-term international collaborations and help embed early career researchers in the international research community. ICMS workshops also bring mathematicians together with other scientists, creating new opportunities for engagement and collaboration.

ICMS embeds Knowledge Exchange (KE) activity in its workshops where appropriate and also funds dedicated KE workshops as a springboard to engagement with industry and the public sector, responding flexibly to engage with current issues, such as in October 2020’s: ‘How mathematical modelling can inform a response to the COVID-19 resurgence?

ICMS Scientific Director, Professor Paul Glendinning said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity to maximise the impact of the investment in research in the mathematical sciences and the people who do this research. Their work makes a major contribution to the international scientific reputation of the UK and to the UK economy.

“The additional funding will give us the means to set agendas and to increase the engagement of the mathematical sciences community with other disciplines to make intellectual progress and to address societal challenges.”

New Directions

The new funding has implications for enhancing mathematical collaboration and innovation in Scotland and across the world. ICMS is part of Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh, and provides a focus for the strong Scottish research community in mathematics. Although the majority of its in-person events and workshops occur at their premises in Central Edinburgh, the £5m grant will help ICMS to diversify geographically: running workshops and activities across the UK, as well as remotely, and investing in mathematical researchers across the world.

To maximise the impact of attending an ICMS workshop, an initial focus will be on an international visitor programme, which will aim to support visits by mathematical researchers to the UK - including visitors from Lower and Middle Income Countries. ICMS funding will make it possible for researchers to spend up to 3 months at any university around the country to collaborate with UK-based colleagues. Additionally, ICMS will expand its Research Workshops and Research in Groups programmes to connect mathematicians across the world, developing opportunities for online participation when possible. 

ICMS will invest in encouraging more people into careers in mathematical research, a significant contributor to the nation’s wealth - £208 billion, or 16% of UK GVA (EPSRC/Deloitte), according to a report commissioned before the massive growth in Big Data. ICMS will focus on supporting progression of students from taught to research degrees; funding initiatives to support early and mid career researchers; and supporting graduate students to connect together across the country and with their international peers. ICMS will focus on responsible innovation, equality, diversity and inclusion, and continue to engage the public with the breadth and beauty of the mathematical sciences, as well as highlight the role it plays in people’s lives.

The Government funding will allow talented UK mathematicians to try new things, and access exciting new opportunities. ICMS hopes that any mathematician with a bright idea will call upon them to help acquire the contacts and resources to help make their ideas a reality. 

ICMS Scientific Director, Professor Paul Glendinning said:

“The new funding will help the mathematical sciences community to be the best that it can, and transform individual mathematicians’ lives. We will continue to address inequality and create an inclusive environment in which all mathematical scientists are valued.”

Listen to Paul Glendinning (Scientific Director, ICMS) and David Abrahams (Director, INI) discussing what this new funding means for Maths in the UK

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