Research in mathematical sciences is key for the advancement of all areas of science and technology, and a vital area of science in itself. Our aim is to sustain core research capability, while promoting transformative and cross-disciplinary research that has the potential for significant impact.
EPSRC funds research and training in mathematical sciences to support the health of the discipline, and to provide skills and knowledge for future needs.
Research in the mathematical sciences is a key element for the advancement of all areas of science and technology, as well as being a vital area of science in itself.
What we aim to do
Our aim is to sustain core research capability, while promoting transformative and cross-disciplinary research that has the potential for significant impact.
We will continue to encourage the development of improved connections with other disciplines and industry to ensure that the significance and relevance of the mathematical sciences is recognised and exploited.
We will look to create the most effective balance across mathematical sciences between research, training and people support (including fellowships), along with underpinning support to facilitate community interactions.
We will achieve this by working to secure the pipeline of future talent through doctoral training and targeted support for individuals. This is a high priority and we will work with universities to improve the quality of doctoral training and career development in mathematics.
We will encourage the strengthening of connections to other disciplines and to industry, enabling the impact of research in the mathematical sciences to be maximised and contributing to the overall health of science and innovation in the UK.
We will work to identify opportunities for the mathematical sciences to contribute to research challenges across the breadth of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) landscape, and actively monitor the balance of EPSRC’s mathematical sciences portfolio, in line with how EPSRC manages its portfolio and priorities.
We will work with stakeholders, including learned societies, universities and research users, to develop a balanced portfolio of research and training, taking into account the quality of the research, current capacity, and the importance of sustaining a high-quality capability in maths in relation to other disciplines, the economy and society.
Support for theoretical physics, mathematical physics and related areas
EPSRC recognises that the overall quality of research in mathematical physics is very high and the cross-fertilisation between mathematics and physics has been hugely beneficial to both subjects.
Research in theoretical physics and mathematical physics encompasses a wide range of subjects, including, but not limited to, classical and quantum field theory, gauge theory, classical and quantum gravity, string theory, condensed matter theory and statistical physics. A number of these examples are supported by both EPSRC and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). For subjects supported by both councils, those projects driven by the mathematics, or by physics within the EPSRC remit are supported by EPSRC, and those driven by the applications to particle physics and cosmology are supported by STFC.
No research project should fall between the remits of the research councils. Research proposals are assessed by each research council under its normal peer review process and evaluated against its priorities and strategy. Applicants seeking further clarification or guidance should contact EPSRC or STFC.
EPSRC supports research in both mathematical and theoretical physics.
The Physical Sciences theme supports research in theoretical physics where the novelty of the research relates to physics within the EPSRC remit, ranging from projects with a purely theoretical perspective through to research working closely with experimentalists.
As theoretical physics underpins many areas of research, relevance may also be within other research EPSRC themes such as Information and Communication Technologies or Energy, where the fundamental properties require a theoretical physics investigation.
The Mathematical Sciences theme supports research in theoretical physics with a strong mathematical or conceptual content, and in areas of mathematics suggested by questions in physics. Examples of activities supported include the study and development of:
- physical theories and mathematical models
- the application of mathematical techniques to problems in theoretical physics
- mathematical structures arising in theoretical physics and their connections with other areas of mathematics
- abstract properties and principles of theoretical frameworks
- foundations and rigorous treatments
- exact solutions, classifications and integrability.
STFC supports theoretical research in particle physics, particle cosmology, theoretical astronomy and cosmology, and areas related or relevant to these. Its theoretical activity includes:
- theoretical insight into physical phenomena
- development and study of theoretical frameworks
- development of models and theories with the aim of further enhancing or unifying our understanding of the physical world
- development of models and theories with the aim of further enhancing or unifying our understanding of the origin and development of the universe
- analysis and interpretation of data from experiments and observations; guidance for further experiments and observations
- development of calculational and computational techniques enabling more precise comparison of theory with experiment.