News and press releases

Appointment of new CMS Chair

The Council for the Mathematical Sciences (CMS) is delighted to announce that Professor Alison Etheridge OBE, FRS, FIMA will be its new Chair. Professor Etheridge is Professor of Probability and member of the Mathematical Institute and Head of the Department of Statistics, University of Oxford. She will become Chair of the CMS in September 2021, succeeding Professor Sir Ian Diamond DL, FBA, FRSE, FacSS, National Statistician.

Professor Etheridge said, ‘It is a huge honour to be asked to contribute to the work of the CMS. Now, more than ever before, new types of mathematical insight are needed to drive forward scientific and industrial innovation, and the role of mathematical science in meeting the challenges posed by the global pandemic has further underlined the value of this ultimate transferable skill. In an evolving landscape, the CMS has a vital role to play in articulating to policymakers (and others) the need to strengthen and grow the people pipeline right across the  Mathematical Sciences, and to embed mathematical and computational thinking in all aspects of science, policy, and innovation.’

After graduate study split between the Universities of Oxford and McGill, Professor Etheridge worked at the Universities of Cambridge, Berkeley, Edinburgh and Queen Mary University London before returning to Oxford.

Over the course of her career, her interests have ranged from abstract mathematical problems to concrete applications as reflected in her four books which range from a research monograph on mathematical objects called superprocesses to an exploration (co-authored with Mark Davis) of the percolation of ideas from the ground-breaking thesis of Bachelier in 1900 to modern mathematical finance. Much of her 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.

Professor Etheridge has extensive experience of academic leadership nationally and internationally, including working with EPSRC both through the Mathematical Sciences Strategic Advisory Team (SAT) and through the Strategic Advisory Network (SAN) and is a Member of EPSRC Council. She brings valuable experience spanning a broad range of the Mathematical Sciences making her an ideal figurehead for the community. The five CMS Societies are delighted that she has accepted this post.

Under the leadership of Professor Sir Ian Diamond, the CMS has seen a number of significant initiatives and developments for the Mathematical Sciences community. These include a major uplift in funding channelled through UKRI, and the prominent role played by the Mathematical Sciences in informing policy during the COVID pandemic. Throughout this time he has continued to promote the value of the Mathematical Sciences and has further developed a strong accord between the constituent Learned Societies of the CMS, which is so vital for future success in representing the interests of the whole Mathematical Sciences community.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond said, ‘‘I am delighted that Alison Etheridge has agreed to take over the Chair of the CMS. As a fellow of both the Royal Society and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, she is extremely well qualified to ensure that the CMS continues to champion the impact of the UK’s Mathematical Sciences and its contribution to national health, social and economic challenges’.