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Institute of Applied Data Science



New grants to boost early-stage maths idea generation and research

18 October 2020

A new initiative launched by the UK government will provide mathematical scientists and researchers with small amounts of funding to support the discovery of ground-breaking and transformative new ideas.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), will provide the funding programme, which will allow mathematical scientists to pursue short term research projects outside their day to day to work, which could lead to more substantial programmes of research being developed.

They will also be able to use the initiative to upskill or retrain staff, for example through hiring postdoctoral research assistants to work on specific projects, or for institutions to host secondments that will aid research.

It follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement in January of up to an additional £300 million for mathematical sciences.

Through the small grants scheme, EPSRC will support grants up to the value of £80,000, with proposals expected to run for up to 12 months. In the first instance, a funding level rising to a level of £2 million is available per annum through this initiative, however this will be reviewed and may be subject to change.

The mathematical sciences are a key discipline in their own right in addition to being crucial for the advancement of all areas of science and technology, underpinning a wide range of discoveries across the research spectrum from health and security to the environment.

The investment announced by the Prime Minister earlier this year will be for research projects, fellowships and doctoral awards where the research focus is in mathematical sciences and will also provide support through the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research (Bristol) as well as funding to increase participation at the Isaac Newton Institute (Cambridge) and International Centre for Mathematical Sciences (Edinburgh).

Science, Research and Innovation Minister, Amanda Solloway said: "Mathematical sciences are a hugely important part of the UK's wider science and research community, underpinning some of our most pioneering industries such as engineering, life sciences and space.

"Now, more than ever, we need our most talented mathematical scientists to come forward with brilliant ideas. Today's funding call will provide them with the freedom to explore new areas of research that could help solve some of our biggest challenges."

EPSRC Executive Chair, Professor Dame Lynn Gladden, said: "The mathematical sciences play a key role in the UK's research and innovation landscape, by providing the foundation upon which much of physical sciences and engineering is based.

"The small grants scheme announced today builds on community input and provides the much-needed funding that will enable our most able researchers to explore new avenues of research in mathematical sciences.

"I have every confidence that the research that this scheme supports will not only increase knowledge but also open up new research and innovation opportunities across UKRI."

For more information, see: EPSRC Mathematical Sciences Small Grants Scheme.

Updated by: Michal Filus