CMS Consultations on National Academy for Mathematical Sciences and Connected Centres Network

*Update 13 April 2022*:

Consultations on the National Academy for Mathematical Sciences and Connected Centres Network: feedback and next steps

Following the consultation on the National Academy for Mathematical Sciences and Connected Centres Network, the CMS Chair, Alison Etheridge, convened a Task and Finish Group (TAFG) , to consider the feedback received, and propose next steps bearing in mind the available funding. This attached paper briefly outlines the key topics arising in the consultation, the recommendations of the TAFG to date, and the latest developments.


In 2018, Professor Philip Bond launched his Independent Review into Knowledge Exchange in the Mathematical Sciences at the House of Lords, which set out twenty-six recommendations around the themes of Governance, Skills, National Resource & Infrastructure, Regional Support, and Government. 

The Council for the Mathematical Sciences (CMS) welcomed the review and its recommendations. In response, the CMS commissioned the Big Mathematics Initiative, a two-tier committee structure led by Dr Claire Craig and Sir Bernard Silverman, to develop proposals to take forward the Bond Review. The BMI initiative reported its recommendations in June 2020, and stemming from these, it was agreed with the CMS that Professor David Abrahams, Director of the Isaac Newton Institute (INI) would establish a small working group to develop a prototype for a National Academy for Mathematical Sciences. The Green Paper (below) developed by this working group sets down the narrative for such an academy, and lays out a roadmap for how an academy might be created and operate.

The Bond Review also advocated that “A national centre in impactful mathematics for the UK should be created to work with industry and government to drive mathematical research through to commercialisation. This could be based on existing models […] and to act as a national [knowledge exchange] hub”. Building on this, David Abrahams, in conjunction with Jane Leeks, Manager of the Newton Gateway, developed a vision to create a step change in the scale, connectivity, and coordination of mathematical sciences knowledge exchange infrastructure in the UK, securing seed funding (as part of the EPSRC Additional Funding Programme for Mathematical Sciences) to initiate this. In order to ensure that any proposed Connected Centre Network model is owned by the whole mathematical sciences community, an implementation plan has been independently developed by Joanna Jordan (RTTP) and Matt Butchers (KTN). 

The Green Paper recognises the vital importance of mathematical education for the supply of future mathematical scientists and for improved mathematical literacy more generally.  The proposed educational function would build on existing models for coordinating expertise and generating influence in this complex arena, and would ensure a better interface between those involved in mathematics education, industry and research.    

With the support of Professor Andrew Noyes (Chair of the Joint Mathematical Council of the UK), the CMS consulted the mathematical sciences community on the proposals in both of these documents.

A recording of the Townhall event can be accessed here.

National Academy for Mathematical Sciences Green Paper

Below a short video by David Abrahams gives an overview of the proposal.

Access the Green Paper outlining the proposal for a National Academy for Mathematical Sciences here.

A live FAQ paper can be accessed here and will be updated on a regular basis.

Knowledge Exchange Connected Centres Network implementation plan

Below a video by Matt Butchers gives an overview of the proposal.

Access the implementation plan for a Knowledge Exchange Connected Centres Network for the mathematical sciences here.

We are extremely grateful to everyone who was involved in producing these documents, and to the INI who provided the administrative support needed to gather and collate responses. 

A small task and finish group was convened to analyse responses.