A Vision for the Academy
- The new Academy for the Mathematical Sciences (AcadMathSci) will be an authoritative and persuasive voice for the whole of the mathematical sciences. We will work with learned societies, other organisations, and people in the community who develop, teach, research, communicate, and use mathematical sciences. The Academy’s focus will include teaching and education, academic research pushing the frontiers of what is known, and the implementation of mathematics in practice in industry, commerce, government and elsewhere. The Academy will support the advancement of the field by bringing together those in the community and more broadly to take action to nurture the people pipeline, increase societal engagement and improve the recognition of the power, value and beauty of mathematical science. Our ambition is that our field delivers on its full potential to improve lives, help people, strengthen society, enhance economic productivity, and benefit and enrich our world.
Consultation Question 1
Q1. Do you find this vision attractive? Which elements of the vision do you like? Which elements would you change?
We need your help
- You are a vital part of the journey to establishing the Academy, and we particularly value your unique experiences and ideas, whatever your work and interest, and whether you see yourself fitting within teaching, research, education, or as an innovator and practitioner of the mathematical sciences – or a combination of these. This is because we believe that wherever you work and use mathematical sciences, a UK-wide voice spanning these interests is essential to ensure that the mathematical sciences deliver on its potential to benefit our world.
- The purpose of this consultation is to provide you with an update on progress towards establishing the Academy, and to get your input on what the Academy should look like and do. We want to establish a compelling vision for the Academy, shaped by you, and which you will want to share widely with those with whom you have influence.
- We welcome your views – whether you have only just heard about the Academy, or are curious to learn more, or have already heard about or been instrumental in the foundational work to date. You are invited to attend a virtual consultation event and/or to provide your responses online: https://www.acadmathsci.org.uk/about/consultation/
- The Consultation Period will run from 26 April until 30 June. Please register here to join one of the four online Consultation Events, kindly hosted by the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences (ICMS), as follows:
- Consultation Event 1: Thursday 4 May, 10am – 12 midday
- Consultation Event 2: Tuesday 16 May, 4pm – 5pm
- Consultation Event 3: Wednesday 17 May, 2pm – 4pm
- Consultation Event 4: Thursday 24 May, 4pm – 5pm
- We welcome your feedback on some or all of the consultation questions available here: https://form.jotform.com/231106276813350.
- Fuller information is in the entire Progress Update and Consultation Document available via the Consultation Webpage: this contains progress updates from each workstream and further explanation and information of where we have so far reached. .
- We also welcome wider feedback on the plans for the Academy, and you can get in touch more generally at contact@AcadMathSci.org.uk.
What the Academy will do
- By design, the Academy will value and recognise activity across the totality of education, research, and practice and use of mathematical sciences.
- It will include all the mathematical sciences, including (but not limited to) mathematics, operational research, statistics, and data science. A word cloud with a fuller list of professions that have and need mathematical scientists extensively is shown in the diagram at the back of this document.
- The Academy will work with people in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We recognise that many important matters for the Academy (including in education) are devolved to the individual nations.
- The Academy will:
- Foster vibrant and dynamic engagement between mathematical scientists and policymakers, scientists, technologists and engineers.
- Support – and work to influence – mathematics education, from early years, through school and into university and beyond, ensuring that curricula are appropriate not only for future study, but also for competent and confident citizenship. Please see the Education section for more detail.
- Build deep support for the abstract innovation and excellence that underpins the mathematics, science, and technologies of the future. See Academies and Societies section.
- Create broad awareness of the role and power of mathematical innovation in tackling new and emerging societal challenges among potential users and collaborators in mathematical sciences; policy makers and opinion formers; investors and business leaders; potential mathematical scientists themselves; and the general public.
- Support the “people pipeline”. The health of the mathematical sciences disciplines are reliant upon a strong people pipeline at all stages from school through to university level and beyond – including the supply of excellent educators to ensure a virtuous circle, and a better deal for those at the early stage of a career in mathematical sciences in education, academia, industry, and government.
- Actively promote an equitable, inclusive and diverse mathematical sciences community, with a key focus on improving the representation of, and opportunities for, groups in the mathematical sciences community that are under-represented compared to the country at large.
- Establish a Policy Unit which will support the goals of the Academy, by having a voice at the table where policy and funding decisions are made and amplifying that voice through opinion formers in the media. Among the consultation questions are asking for your input on what the Academy should focus on in its policy work:
- Undertake advocacy activities to pursue our ambitions for mathematical sciences and in line with policy goals. This will be closely linked to the work of the Policy Unit. We would like to see changes that benefit the discipline, and to improve public policy, and actions made by decision makers, through the greater expertise contributed by the mathematical sciences community. Thinking already done about the advocacy function is here.
- Bring Early Career mathematical scientists together, working with other organisations, to determine concrete actions that will improve the lives and careers of people in this group, secure funding for these actions where necessary, and take these actions forward. Priorities identified to date are set out here.
- Support the improvement in the implementation of mathematical sciences in practice, whether that is in business, industry and finance, charities or the public sector. This includes innovators and practitioners in all these areas.
- Champion the importance of mathematical excellence and cutting-edge mathematical sciences research, both fundamental and directly applicable.
- Press for a substantial increase in research funding for the mathematical sciences, commensurate with the great importance of our field to economic productivity and societal wellbeing in the UK.
- Work to bolster communication channels in both directions between researchers and users of mathematics for the benefit of all.
- Design communication and liaison systems that open up the Academy to the whole community. We will set out this in more detail in due course. In doing so, we are conscious that the Academy will need to communicate both ‘externally’ to advocate the importance of mathematical sciences, and ‘internally’ to the broad mathematical sciences community to ensure the academy is, and is seen as, an inclusive entity which represents the interests of the whole community. We are aware that further work is needed to identify how to connect with a very broad mathematical sciences community including people who don’t usually engage with the discipline. We will take into account that, for example, a much smaller proportion of graduates of mathematical sciences subjects identify as members of their disciplines (e.g. mathematicians, operational researchers, statisticians, mathematical scientists) than other STEM subjects.
- Timing: We are now 6 months into the “proto-Academy” set-up phase (which started in October 2022 and is due to last 2.5 years), with therefore up to 2 years to go before the Academy is launched by the first half of 2025. Before that, there will need to be a positive outcome to the “Go/No-Go” decision by the Council of Mathematical Sciences: that decision is due to take place on or before October 2024. The genesis of the Academy was a key recommendation of the 2018 Bond Review, The Era of Mathematics. The Council for the Mathematical Sciences (CMS) welcomed the review and its recommendations. The subsequent Green Paper in December 2021 went to the community for feedback. This document builds on all of that work.
How the Academy will work with CMS Learned Societies and other organisations
- Our approach is for the Academy to work in partnership with the learned societies, professional bodies and membership organisations that already exist – and that this close working will be an essential part of the success of the Academy. We want all organisations that exist to promote and advance the mathematical sciences discipline to flourish.
- As an authoritative and persuasive voice for the whole of the mathematical sciences, the Academy will be a valuable advocate for the broad community and thus bring additional benefits to the existing learned societies and organisations. www.acadmathsci.org.uk/about/consultation/consultation-doc-acads-and-socs/. With the Academy seeking to ensure that greater and proper weight is given to mathematical sciences, that will help mathematical scientists and their organisations. A rising tide lifts all boats.
- We agree with every word of the CMS statement on our website, “The Council for the Mathematical Sciences, and its five member societies, established the current process to determine the feasibility and set-up of an Academy for the Mathematical Sciences. They added, “The mathematical community in the UK is a world leader and provides the bedrock to all the sciences and major technological advancements. Developing a single voice on issues affecting the whole community, including educators, practitioners, and academics, will be a key aim of the Academy for the Mathematical Sciences. It is important that the mathematical sciences community, through a potential Academy, becomes more influential with government, funding agencies, industry, the public and the media. We look forward to supporting the programme, to develop a proposal for a future Academy, that is sustainable and works in partnership with the societies covering mathematics, statistics, and operational research.” The five CMS learned societies are: the Edinburgh Mathematical Society (EMS), the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA), the London Mathematical Society (LMS), the Operational Research Society (ORS) and the Royal Statistical Society (RSS).
- The Academy will complement the learned societies in much the same way as the Royal Academy of Engineering complements the learned societies in Engineering. It will not compete with them, but through increased convening power and a combined voice will create much greater influence and recognition for the discipline. Assuming that resource is available, the Academy will be proactive in its horizon scanning and engagement. We have no intention of launching academic journals, which are an important part of the CMS Learned Societies’ approach and finances.
- We are, want to, and will be, working with other National Academies, and other mathematical sciences organisations, including the Joint Mathematical Council (JMC), which operates as an overarching mathematics education organisation, and the Heads of Departments of Mathematical Sciences (HoDoMS).
How the Academy will function
- We expect the Academy to be a charity and, specifically, a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. This is a charity structure where the trustees (who are the people legally responsible for the running of the charity) are elected by, and accountable to, a wider body (the Fellows). With legal advice, we have prepared a constitution (based on the Charity Commission’s own template): the key details are in www.acadmathsci.org.uk/about/consultation/consultation-doc-governance/. We welcome feedback on these.
- National Academies have Fellows. Likewise, the Academy for the Mathematical Sciences (AcadMathSci) will have Fellows. The Green Paper gave some suggestions of how this would work; the responses to the Green Paper consultation were generally supportive, but there were some sceptical voices and some challenges identified. We are now firming up on the proposals, in the light of that – and are putting them to you for consultation.
- We envisage that the Fellows of the Academy for the Mathematical Sciences would comprise people who demonstrate excellence in their field, are respected by their peers for their contributions towards the flourishing and support of mathematical sciences in the UK, and who support the aims of the Academy. We expect Fellows to be elected from all parts of the mathematical sciences community, including teachers, other educators, academics, and innovators and practitioners in industry, commerce, government and elsewhere. The consultation questions include how we best ensure equity, diversity and inclusiveness amongst our Fellows. and what excellence looks like in your field/sector/community. www.acadmathsci.org.uk/about/consultation/consultation-doc-fellowship/
- The Academy won’t be a mass membership organisation. It will have Fellows (as all national and royal Academies do) but Fellowship is the route for people joining it.
- We have modelled the likely costs of running the Academy based on estimates of activities. This suggests an annual budget of £2m would be required for the minimum viable structure. A budget of £4m per annum would enable the Academy to operate the full structure. A fully-fledged structure would be between these estimates. Funds will need to be raised to pay for these – and the availability of funds will determine the extent of what the Academy can do. We are exploring possible avenues for funding which include individual philanthropists; corporations; charities; and government. www.acadmathsci.org.uk/about/consultation/consultation-doc-finance
- If you want more detail than this Summary, hyperlinks to online versions of the individual sections of the entire Progress Update and Consultation Document are below. The .pdf of the entire document is available via the Consultation Webpage:, as are all consultation materials.
- Implementation of Mathematical Sciences
- Academies and Societies
- Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
- Early Career Mathematical Scientists
- Full List of Consultation Questions
Annex A: Timeline
Annex B: The Academy’s Executive Committee
Annex C: The Academy’s Current Workstreams