News and press releases

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.

Unlocking the power of mathematics to benefit society

The Council for the Mathematical Sciences (CMS) and the Academy for the Mathematical Sciences (AcadMathSci) are delighted to publish this landmark document which outlines our collective vision and priorities for the sustained growth and impact of mathematical sciences in the UK.

Mathematics plays a pivotal role in advancing knowledge, fostering innovation, and addressing the challenges of our rapidly evolving world and this Maths Manifesto is designed to highlight the value of mathematics to the UK and to present some key asks to politicians.* By embracing the principles outlined, we aim to foster a dynamic and inclusive ecosystem that propels the mathematical sciences to new heights of excellence, impact, and relevance.

Together, we will shape a future where mathematics is a powerful force behind progress, policy, and innovation in our society.

We call upon political parties, and all those with an interest, to play their part in creating this future.

Read the manifesto in full, including our vision, priorities, goals, and calls for action here .

* A note on devolution

This document was produced ahead of the forthcoming UK General Election. Some policy areas raised here are the responsibility of the Westminster government across the whole of the UK. Some other areas, particularly in education, are devolved. Where we make recommendations on devolved issues, this manifesto therefore refers specifically to England only. We intend to make similar policy proposals ahead of future elections for the Scottish Parliament, Senedd Cymru, and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Mathematical Sciences: Recruitment and Diversity

We are delighted to share the output of a research report commissioned by HoDoMS and CMS analysing HESA data on the employment outcomes of mathematical sciences graduates from graduation years 2016 through to 2020 by entry requirement, social deprivation and sex.  

This report was commissioned to follow up observations of trends in recruitment to mathematical sciences degrees by entry requirement level.  Increasingly, institutions with the highest entry requirements are garnering a larger share of the total number of entrants to mathematical sciences degrees. Given that this could impact on the breadth of opportunities available to study mathematical sciences in the UK, with potential consequences for diversity of the student population, the report sought to explore the employment outcomes for mathematical sciences students from institutions across the sector. 

We envisage the report will be useful for universities and government policymakers.  As a next step we hope to convene round tables to distil policy recommendations from the report.  

The report is available here .

Government announces funding to support creation of a new National Academy focused on Mathematical Sciences

We are delighted that the government also wants to see the creation of a new National Academy to cover mathematical sciences, and announced funding of up to £6m to support it. The CMS (Council of Mathematical Sciences) gives strong support for the creation of such an Academy, recognising the important role it will play in the mathematical sciences community and the benefits to the economy and society that it will bring. We are ready to work closely with the government during the business case phase to ensure that these benefits can be fully realised.

Professor Alison Etheridge, Chair of the Council of Mathematical Sciences

REF 2021 Results

The REF 2021 results have been annouced and can be seen here. Alison Etheridge, CMS Chair, says: “It is fantastic to see the outstanding quality of UK Mathematical Sciences research and its impact reflected in the REF 2021 results. The results recognise work of world-leading quality in submissions from units of all sizes and from all across the UK.”

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’.