Memorandum 19
Submission from the Council for the Mathematical
Sciences
PUTTING SCIENCE
AND ENGINEERING
AT THE
HEART OF
GOVERNMENT POLICY
The Council for the Mathematical Sciences (comprising
the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, the London
Mathematical Society, the Royal Statistical Society, the Edinburgh
Mathematical Society and the Operational Research Society) would
like to respond to the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills
Select Committee inquiry on Putting science and engineering
at the heart of government policy with the following points:
— Mathematical sciences underpin all
other science subjects, and developments in mathematical sciences
often go hand in hand with advancements in biological, chemical
and physical sciences. For a healthy research base and the construction
of coherent government policy it is essential that the remit for
any proposed Department for Science includes mathematics, statistics
and operational research. Clarity in the Committee's use of the
word "science" in this context is very important. The
subject of this inquiry should be putting "STEM" (Science,
Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) at the heart of government
policy. In some contexts (particularly secondary education) the
word "science" is taken to mean only biology, physics
and chemistry, which propagates the idea that science and engineering
are separate to and can exist without mathematics.
— The CMS believes that the Research Councils' move
towards directed research programmes and away from transformative
research conflicts with the Haldane Principle; a review of the
principle could be helpful in this context. The CMS welcomes the
Committee's recent scrutiny of the Engineering and Physical Sciences
Research Council's operations and is deeply concerned at the drop
in the EPSRC Mathematical Sciences Programme budget from £21 million
in 200607 to £14 million in the 200910 financial
year.
We would be pleased to expand on these points
if the Committee wishes.
January 2009
