Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Mathematical sciences theme

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.

Partners involved:
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

The scope and what we're doing

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.

Applicants wishing to check whether their proposed research is within EPSRC’s remit should complete the remit query form and send it to epsrc_remit_queries@epsrc.ac.uk.

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.

Research areas

You can find out more about:

Why we're doing it

Research in the mathematical sciences is a central element for the advancement of all areas of science and technology, as well as being a vital area of science in itself.

View evidence sources used to inform our research strategies.

Opportunities, support and resources available

Funding opportunities

Open fellowships

You can apply for a research grant at any time under EPSRC’s responsive mode scheme.

Additional funding programme for mathematical sciences

An additional £300 million for mathematical sciences was announced in January 2020.

This new investment is for research projects, fellowships and doctoral awards where the research focus is in mathematical sciences as well as providing additional funding to the Heilbronn Institute to support PhD students and research, and to the Isaac Newton Institute and International Centre for Mathematical Sciences to enable increased participation.

Doctoral studentships

We allocated £15 million of doctoral studentship funding that started in the autumn of 2020. This allocation was:

  • made through training grants based on our doctoral training partnership (DTP) awards model
  • awarded to each university calculated by algorithm based on the EPSRC mathematical sciences portfolio led by that university
  • ring-fenced funding for doctoral studentships in mathematical sciences
  • studentship awards equivalent to four years’ support
  • provided with allowed open eligibility for up to 50% of each universities’ studentships.

Small grants scheme

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.

Programme grants

Programme grants are a mechanism to provide flexible funding to world-leading research groups to address significant major research challenges. They can be awarded for up to a six year duration and are intended to support world-leading researchers.

Programme grants overview.

Fellowships

Open fellowships provide a flexible mechanism to support research excellence, career development and research culture. Applicants are able to apply for up to five years of funding, with options to hold the fellowship for shorter periods or part-time to fit around other personal or work commitments.

Research associates

Funding has been allocated to universities to enable 120 research associates to take up positions from April 2021 of up to one-year duration (full time equivalent). The research associate positions will enable the best mathematical sciences doctoral students to further develop their own research ideas, with the expectation that they could use part of this time to prepare traditional post-doctoral fellowship applications as the next step on their career pathway.

The number of positions allocated to each institution has been determined using a similar model to the doctoral training partnership allocation, which relates the awards to the value of EPSRC mathematical sciences portfolio led by that university.

Additional Funding Programme for Mathematical Sciences advisory group

The advisory group is working with EPSRC on the development and delivery of the Additional Funding Programme for Mathematical Sciences. Input to discussions will guide the development and monitoring and evaluation of each area of the programme: doctoral studentships, funding for career pathways, the mathematical sciences institutes, large and small grants and multi-institutional projects and programmes.

Engagement with learned societies

EPSRC engages with the learned societies through both attendance of annual meetings and ad hoc engagement through activities involving portfolio managers within EPSRC’s Mathematical Sciences theme, for example visits to members of the learned societies. Additionally, to ensure effective communication between EPSRC and the learned societies, members of the advisory group are also members of various learned societies.

Watch the video of Katie Blaney, Mathematical Sciences Team Lead, talking about the additional funding programme.

If you have any questions about additional funding for mathematical sciences, contact Katie Blaney, Mathematical Sciences Theme Lead at katie.blaney@epsrc.ukri.org.

Past projects, outcomes and impact

Visualising our portfolio (VoP) is a tool for users to visually interact with the EPSRC portfolio and data relationships. Find out more about research theme connections and funding for mathematical sciences.

Find previously funded projects in the Mathematical Sciences theme on Grants on the Web.

Who to contact

Ask a question about the Mathematical Sciences theme

General enquiries

Email: maths@epsrc.ukri.org

Katie Blaney, Head of Mathematical Sciences

Email: katie.blaney@epsrc.ukri.org
Telephone: 07500 910049

Marianne Rolph, Senior Portfolio Manager

Email: marianne.rolph@epsrc.ukri.org
Telephone: 07850 974750

Rebecca Williams, Senior Portfolio Manager

Email: rebecca.williams@epsrc.ukri.org
Telephone: 07590 453881

Luis López-Bracey, Senior Portfolio Manager

Email: luis.lopez-bracey@epsrc.ukri.org
Telephone: 07749 437566

Nishtha Agarwal, Portfolio Manager

Email: nishtha.agarwal@epsrc.ukri.org
Telephone: 07511 403767

Jacob Wood, Portfolio Manager

Email: jacob.wood@epsrc.ukri.org
Telephone: 07925 348098

Victoria Lund, Portfolio Manager

Email: victoria.lund@epsrc.ukri.org
Telephone: 07514 622458

Rachael Pittaway, Portfolio Manager

Email: rachael.pittaway@epsrc.ukri.org
Telephone: 07874 884070

Governance, management and panels

Mathematical sciences strategic advisory team

Find out who is on the strategic advisory team for the Mathematical Sciences theme.

Mathematical Sciences Early Career Forum membership

The Mathematical Sciences Early Career Forum (ECF) was established as a way for EPSRC to interact with researchers in the early stages of their career in order to share information on EPSRC policy and process. The forum is also an opportunity for early career researchers to network with colleagues from across the country, interact with senior academics that have a strong connection to EPSRC and to discuss future EPSRC strategy related to the mathematical sciences.

The aims of the forum are to:

  • develop early career researchers’ understanding of EPSRC, including strategic priorities and funding mechanisms
  • act as an informal advisory stream regarding EPSRC’s mathematical sciences strategy, allowing early career mathematical scientists the opportunity to develop strategic influence and communication skills
  • identify and support future research leaders in the mathematical sciences
  • develop relationships with early career researchers who will become future advocates for EPSRC.

Current members of the forum are:

  • Ewelina Zatorska – Imperial College London
  • Alan Matthew Thompson – Loughborough University
  • Daniel Loughran – University of Bath
  • Anthea Monod Imperial – College London
  • Kaustubh Adhikari – The Open University
  • Philip Pearce – University College London
  • Ruth Bowness – University of Bath
  • Ana Ros Camacho – Cardiff University
  • Oscar Esteban Rodriguez Espindola – Aston University
  • Kyle Wedgwood – University of Exeter
  • James Rankin – University of Exeter
  • Katarzyna Kowal – University of Glasgow
  • Jemma Shipton – University of Exeter
  • Haiyan Liu – University of Leeds
  • Carolina de Jesus Euan Campos – Lancaster University
  • Samuel Edward Jackson – Durham University
  • Eder Zavala – University of Birmingham
  • Laura Boyle – Queen’s University Belfast
  • Wing Fung (Alfred) Chong – Heriot-Watt University
  • Matthias Ehrhardt – University of Bath
  • Sebastian Maier – University College London
  • Lisa McFetridge – Queen’s University Belfast

Please contact maths@epsrc.ukri.org for further information.

Additional funding in mathematical sciences advisory group membership

The advisory group has been drawn from members of the mathematical sciences research community. In the first instance this has been based on a combination of nominations from the group that met with the government to discuss the funding and representation from the EPSRC mathematical sciences strategic advisory team. The group is chaired by Professor Alison Etheridge, a member of EPSRC.

The advisory group’s role is to:

  • act as a body of external experts, including representatives from the mathematical sciences research community, to advise EPSRC on the development and delivery of the Additional Funding Programme for Mathematical Sciences
  • contribute to discussions and development of each area of the programme
  • work in an integrated way with the EPSRC mathematical sciences strategic advisory team to realise the maximum long-term value and impact from this additional investment
  • work with EPSRC to ensure there is effective communication and engagement between EPSRC and the mathematical sciences research and user communities.

The members of the group as of April 2020 are:

  • Professor Alison Etheridge (Chair) – University of Oxford
  • Professor Edmund Burke – University of Leicester
  • Professor Joseph Chuang – City University
  • Professor Penny Davies – University of Strathclyde
  • Professor Jonathan Dawes – University of Bath
  • Professor David van Dyk – Imperial College
  • Professor Jeffrey Giansiracusa – Swansea University
  • Professor Iain Gordon – University of Edinburgh
  • Professor David Leslie – Lancaster University
  • Professor Claire Miller – University of Glasgow
  • Professor Ineke de Moortel – University of St Andrews
  • Professor William Parnell – The University of Manchester
  • Professor Carola-Bibiane Schönlieb – University of Cambridge
  • Professor Peter Topping – University of Warwick

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