National Academy for the Mathematical Sciences: Proto-Academy roles

The idea for a National Academy for Mathematical Sciences was first put forward in the Bond Report: Era of Mathematics – an Independent Review of Knowledge Exchange in the Mathematical Sciences, published in 2018, to provide, for the first time, a single body which represents the whole of the mathematical sciences. The resulting Green Paper consultation by the Council for the Mathematical Sciences outlined a proposal for a National Academy that embraces academia, education, industry and government agencies, with a primary focus on external advocacy and enhancing connections across the broad mathematical sciences community. Following its consultation of the mathematical sciences community, the CMS set up a working group that produced a Next Steps paper. This envisages employing a senior administrator to serve as Executive Director and setting up a focused Executive Committee of a proto-Academy. A go/no-go decision for the Academy would be taken at the end of the period (two and a half years).

1. Chair and Members of the Executive Committee

The Council for the Mathematical Sciences is seeking nominations, or self-nominations, for members and a Chair for the Executive Committee to work on a voluntary basis as part of the next steps in setting up a National Academy for the Mathematical Sciences. Further information can be found in this document and the nomination form. Please return completed forms to Lindsay Walsh (Lindsay.walsh@lms.ac.uk) by 8 August 2022.  

2. Executive Director, National Academy for the Mathematical Sciences (Fixed Term)

The post holder, working closely with the Chair of the Executive Committee, will liaise with potential funders, including research funders and philanthropists, to raise funds for ongoing operations; help to develop the strategy and operational plan for the proto-Academy, in consultation with stakeholders; design and implement the new organisation and fellowship structure; setup and oversee the work of a small policy, education and EDI unit; and liaise with high-level stakeholders, including researchers, policymakers, businesspeople, those involved in mathematics education and the media to carve out a distinctive role for the new body.

This is a fixed-term position and funds for this post are available for 24 months in the first instance. The deadline to apply for this role is 14 August 2022. Further particulars can be seen here.

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’.