6 October 2022 – We are delighted to announce an important step towards the creation of a National Academy for the Mathematical Sciences with the appointment of the Executive Committee and Executive Director to carry out the feasibility and set-up phase. The proposed academy would represent and advocate for the mathematical sciences and people who work in them including educators, practitioners and academics. It would operate across the whole of the mathematical sciences, including mathematics, statistics, data science and operational research.
The Executive Committee will lead a focussed programme of work, to put in place the structures required for a National Academy to be set up and able to begin its work by the first half of 2025. There will be consultation and discussion in the mathematical sciences community at stages before then.
This builds on previous work, for which we are deeply grateful. The idea for a National Academy for Mathematical Sciences was put forward in Professor Philip Bond’s Review: Era of Mathematics, published in 2018, to provide, for the first time, a single body which represents the whole of the mathematical sciences. The Big Mathematics Initiative then progressed the Bond Review recommendations and subsequently the Council for the Mathematical Sciences (CMS) commissioned a Green Paper, which 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.
The CMS consultation on the Green Paper closed in January 2022 and showed strong and widespread support in principle for such an Academy. A Next Steps paper produced by a CMS-appointed Working Group proposed the creation of a proto-Academy (an “incubator” for a National Academy) with the recruitment of an Executive Committee and Executive Director. The CMS Working Group proposed that a go/no-go decision for the Academy would be taken by the end of the period (two and a half years).
We are determined that an academy will be inclusive in at least four ways:
- It will cover all mathematical sciences, including mathematics (pure and applied), statistics and operational research.
- It will involve and include practitioners, academics and educators.
- It will have equality, diversity and inclusion at its heart.
- The internal structures of the Academy must allow room for a diversity of views and use this creative tension to its advantage.
The nomination process for the Executive Committee for the “proto-Academy” demonstrated the cross-community appetite for the Academy. We are delighted at the extent of interest, and the range and quality of the nominations. The roles were advertised on the CMS website and shared more widely, including through the five learned societies, JMC and HoDoMs (Heads of [University] Departments of Mathematical Sciences). A Nominations Committee proposed by the CMS Board sifted the (about 80) nominations for the Executive Committee.
As a result, we are delighted to announce the following appointments as members of the Executive Committee:
- Nigel Campbell (Chair)
- Sophie Carr
- Nira Chamberlain
- Tom Coates
- Christine Currie
- Ineke de Moortel
- Cathy Hobbs
- Ruth Kaufman
- Sara Lombardo
- Terry Lyons
- Jil Matheson
- Lynne McClure
- Bernard Silverman
- Simon Yun-Farmbrough
In addition, the Executive Committee will also comprise:
- ex-officio, a representative (name to be confirmed) of the Knowledge Exchange Hub (which is the new name of the Connected Centres Network),
- as an observer, a representative of the CMS Board – the CMS Board proposed that Alison Etheridge, Chair of the CMS, do this, and
- Christie Marr, the new Executive Director.
Biographies of each person on the Executive Committee are here.
As with the Executive Committee, the Executive Director role was advertised on the CMS website and shared more widely. It was competed openly, followed by shortlisting and interviews.
We are delighted as a result to announce that Dr Christie Marr has been appointed as Executive Director for the “proto-academy”. She starts in mid-November 2022.
Christie will be seconded from her current position as Deputy Director of the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences. All other members of the Executive Committee are unpaid and voluntary. The Chair has been appointed with an understanding that this would be a part-time voluntary role equivalent to one day a week.
Workstreams and Sub-committees
Activity of this scale needs to be broken down into workstreams. The initially proposed outline structure of workstreams, which will probably also be reflected in sub-committees, is given below. The Executive Committee will decide whether to agree or amend this structure.
The workstreams are expected to include (in no particular order):
- Academic affairs (in particular, the relationship with existing learned societies and academies);
- Practitioner affairs (including articulating the complementary role that the academy should play in the context of existing organisations) and Knowledge Exchange (ensuring symbiosis with the developing Knowledge Exchange Hub, formerly Connected Centres Network);
- Education (and how to dovetail with existing activities);
- EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion);
- Development and finance (including fundraising);
- Early career mathematicians;
- Governance (including charitable status and proposing a fellowship model);
- Comms and advocacy (for mathematical sciences, for the academy itself, and for the set-up phase);
In addition, there are two overarching workstreams. These will both draw on and influence the work of the sub-committees:
- Strategy, including Vision and Purpose; and what the Academy should do and focus on and what it should not, and how that varies with the scale of funds raised.
- Planning, including developing – and then seeing through – an actionable plan with measurable milestones.
Advisory Board and Communities of Interest
The proto-Academy’s work will be supported and enhanced by an Advisory Board and Communities of Interest. The Executive Committee and Executive Director will be working with the Advisory Board and Communities of Interest to carry out the feasibility and set-up phase. We currently envisage that members of the Advisory Board will be involved in specific activity with workstreams (according to individuals’ expertise and interest) starting soon and, as things evolve, we will also be seeking views from people in the wider Communities of Interest.
We have already asked highly capable nominees for the Executive Committee to be members of the Advisory Board and Communities of Interest. We anticipate that both the Advisory Board and Communities of Interest will be widened somewhat in the weeks and months ahead.
Which Executive Committee members are focused on which workstreams?
The diversity of experience and expertise on the Executive Committee is a huge advantage. We have therefore been able to identify which members of the executive will be associated with which workstream(s).
Please note that this is absolutely NOT the full range of expertise expected to be involved in each workstream. We hope that most or all of the Advisory Board will be involved with one or more workstreams – and that there will be expertise from the Communities of Interest and from people across the mathematical sciences community.
The list (arranged by sub-committee/workstream) is:
- Strategy. All Executive Committee.
- Planning. All Executive Committee.
- Academic affairs in particular, the relationship with existing learned societies and academies.
Sir Bernard Silverman (Lead). Sub-committee includes Terry Lyons, Ineke de Moortel, Nira Chamberlain, Ruth Kaufman, Christine Currie, Tom Coates. This sub-committee therefore includes a former President of each of the CMS Learned Societies.
- Practitioner affairs including articulating the complementary role that the academy should play in the content of existing organisations and Knowledge Exchange ensuring symbiosis with the developing Knowledge Exchange Hub, formerly Connected Centres Network.
Christine Currie (Lead). Sub-committee includes Nira Chamberlain, Sophie Carr, Ruth Kaufman.
- Education and how to dovetail with existing activities.
Lynne McClure (Lead). Sub-committee includes Dame Jil Matheson, Sophie Carr, Cathy Hobbs.
- EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion).
Sara Lombardo (Lead). Sub-committee includes Cathy Hobbs, Tom Coates.
- Development and Finance including fundraising.
Simon Yun-Farmbrough (Lead).
- Early career mathematicians
A member of the Advisory Board, rather than a member of the Executive Committee, is expected to lead this. The first task will be to identify what gaps exist now for Early Career Researchers and other early career mathematicians – and what the academy could/should add. We will identify a member of the executive committee to champion this incredibly important piece of work from the start.
- Governance including charitable status and proposing a fellowship model.
Ruth Kaufman (Lead). Sub-committee includes Dame Jil Matheson, Ineke de Moortel.
- Comms and advocacy for mathematical sciences, for the academy itself, and for the set-up phase.
Rachel Bearon will lead this. She is a member of the Advisory Board. Tom Coates will be the champion for this at the Executive Committee.
Cathy Hobbs (Lead). Sub-committee includes Sara Lombardo.
Note: These are not the full sub-committees. All these sub-committees will have additional members from the Advisory Board and/or Community of Interest.
How can I contribute / feed in?
We will be consulting widely with the mathematical sciences community once we have propositions to test. If you wish to make views known in the meantime and/or offer help, please email email@example.com