Monthly Archives: July 2011

EPSRC dirigisme

Added: I think for now the comments section of Tim Gowers’s blog is the de facto place to discuss this EPSRC action. (I hope Tim doesn’t mind my recommending this.)

EPSRC is the UK government funding body for science — as a short hand, you can think of it as the UK version of the NSF, though as you’ll see it’s not much like the NSF in attitude. By far the most important channel for EPSRC funding to mathematics has been its “responsive mode” fellowships: postdocs, young researchers, and established researchers apply for funding for a program of research that they define and propose, and the applications are assessed according to quality.

Last week, the EPSRC announced that, in the mathematical sciences, it would consider fellowship applications only in statistics and applied probability. Tim Gowers has an extended blog post about this: here. (One fact Tim unearthed is that last year, statistics and applied probability accounted for 14% of fellowship funds in the mathematical sciences.)

The question arises: What can we do about this? Whom should we tell what a dangerous idea this is? The UK mathematical and scientific societies are forming a unified official response, but it’s frustrating for individuals simply to wait and see. So I have compiled below lists of individuals who sit on various relevant bodies. If you know one of these people well (or at least well enough), a little human discussion can’t hurt.

EPSRC Council (website: here)
Mr John Armitt (Olympic Delivery Authority) – Chair EPSRC
Professor David Delpy – Chief Executive EPSRC
Professor Anne Anderson (University of Glasgow)
Mr Jack Boyer (Entrepreneur)
Professor Brian Collins (Department for Transport)
Professor John Fisher (University of Leeds)
Professor Lynn Gladden (University of Cambridge)
Professor Andrew Hamilton (University of Oxford)
Professor Timothy Pedley (University of Cambridge)
Dr Malcolm Roberts (Guidance Ltd)
Professor Roy Sambles (University of Exeter)
Professor Christopher Snowden (University of Surrey)
Professor Dr Pierre-Louis Viollet (EDF R&D)
Dr David Watson (IBM UK Labs Ltd)
Professor Jeremy Watson (Arup)
Professor Mark Welland (Ministry of Defence)
Professor Lord Robert Winston (Imperial College)
Dr Tony Wood (Pfizer)

EPSRC Strategic Advisory Network (website: here)
Professor Rachel Cooper -Lancaster University
Professor Alicia El Haj – Keele University
Peter Ellingworth – Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI)
Professor Patrick – Grant University of Oxford
Professor David Hand – Imperial College London
Tom Hockaday – Isis Innovation
Professor Alan Hughes – University of Cambridge
Professor Neville Jackson – Ricardo plc
Professor Richard Jones – University of Sheffield
Professor Andrew Mackenzie – University of St Andrews
Professor Phil Macnaghten – Durham University
Professor Tom Melham – University of Oxford
Dr Kenny Mitchell – Black Rock Studio
Professor Philip Nelson – University of Southampton
Dr Rachel O’Reilly – University of Warwick
Professor Richard Owen – Exeter University
Professor John Pethica – Royal Society
Professor Judith Petts – University of Birmingham
Tim Radford – Independent
Professor Paul Raithby – University of Bath
Ian Risk – EADS Innovation Works UK
Professor Tom Rodden – University of Nottingham
Martin Sadler – HP Systems Security Laboratory
Dr Richard Seabrook – Wellcome Trust
Alison Starr – GE Aviation
Professor Ian White – University of Cambridge
Professor Rhodri Williams – Swansea University
Dr David York – Procter & Gamble
Professor Paul Younger – University of Newcastle

EPSRC Strategic Advisory Team for the Mathematical Sciences (website: here)
Professor David Arrowsmith – Queen Mary University of London
Professor Edmund Burke – University of Nottingham
Professor David Calderbank – University of Bath
Professor Alison Etheridge – University of Oxford
Professor Alistair Fitt – University of Southampton
Professor Iain Gordon – University of Edinburgh
Professor John Hunton – University of Leicester
Professor Elizabeth Mansfield – University of Kent
Professor Gareth Roberts – University of Warwick
Professor Reidun Twarock – University of York
Dr Eddie Wilson – University of Bristol

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