First President of the Academy for the Mathematical Sciences announced

The Academy for the Mathematical Sciences announces that Professor Alison Etheridge OBE FRS will be its first President. She will take up the role on 17 June 2024.

The Academy will focus on mathematical sciences wherever they happen. This includes teaching and education, academic research pushing the frontiers of what is known, and mathematical sciences in business and in government. It is a UK-wide Academy, recognising that many crucial policy areas affecting mathematical sciences are devolved. It will also have a wide and inclusive definition of mathematical sciences – and is committed to improving opportunities for previously underrepresented groups of people.

The Academy’s Trustees unanimously believe that Alison is the ideal person to take forward this vision, as a widely-respected leader with experience of building links across the full spectrum of the mathematical sciences community and beyond.

Alison is Professor in Probability at the University of Oxford. She is a world expert on stochastic processes and their applications. Much of Alison’s recent research is concerned with mathematical models of population genetics, where she has been particularly involved in efforts to understand the effects of spatial structure of populations on their patterns of genetic variation.

Over the course of her career, Alison’s research interests have ranged from abstract mathematical problems to concrete applications, with significant contributions in the theory and applications of probability and in the links between them. Alongside this outstanding research, she has an exceptional record of leadership and service to the profession, working to promote an inclusive and diverse mathematical sciences community.

Professor Etheridge said, “The past 18-month set-up phase of the Academy has given us a tantalising glimpse of what can be achieved when mathematical scientists from different parts of our community work together. It is an exciting challenge to maintain that momentum and ensure that, by bringing together the whole mathematical sciences community, the Academy will have an authoritative and persuasive voice and so achieve its ambition of enabling the mathematical sciences to deliver on its full potential.”

Nigel Campbell, Chair of the Academy for the Mathematical Sciences, said “I am delighted that Alison Etheridge will be the Academy’s first President. Her track record speaks for itself, in research, in community leadership, and in her ability to bring people together. She is well-placed to be President for our crucial first 3 years, as we seek to bring the Academy fully into being, with community support, and secure DSIT and other funding.”

Alison was President of the international Institute of Mathematical Statistics from 2017 to 2018 and Head of the Department of Statistics at the University of Oxford from 2019 to 2022. She serves on the Council of the Royal Society.

Alison has chaired the Council for the Mathematical Sciences (CMS) since 2021. Following the Bond review of 2018, the CMS established the process to determine the feasibility and set-up of an Academy for the Mathematical Sciences. The CMS is an umbrella body of the 5 Learned Societies in the Mathematical Sciences: Edinburgh Mathematical Society (EMS), Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA), London Mathematical Society (LMS), Operational Research Society (ORS) and Royal Statistical Society (RSS). Alison chaired the Mathematical Sciences panel for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 and has initiated work by CMS and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to draw upon the REF Impact Case Studies to highlight the breadth of social and economic impact that the mathematical sciences have.