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Grants to boost early-stage maths idea generation and research

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A new initiative will provide scientists and researchers with greater agility for early-stage idea generation and research through small funding grants.

Ground-breaking ideas

A new initiative launched today 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.

This will allow mathematical scientists to pursue short term research projects outside their day to day 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.

Prime Minister’s announcement

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 per annum is available through this initiative, however this will be reviewed and may be subject to change.

Key discipline

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. This underpins 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.

This 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).

Freedom to explore new areas

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.

Opening up new opportunities

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.

Additional mathematical sciences funding is also available through the standard mode scheme. Researchers in the final stages of preparing a proposal are encouraged to submit by 28 November for an opportunity for it to be reviewed at the February 2021 panel – subject to the usual peer review process.

Further information

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