Spending Review 2010 - HC 618Written evidence submitted by the Royal Statistical Society (SR 23)

1. The Royal Statistical Society welcomes the inquiry by the Science and Technology Committee on the Spending Review 2010.

2. The Council for Mathematical Sciences, of which the Society is a founder member, has made a substantive submission to the inquiry in which it sets out that:

“EPSRC funding in mathematical science has decreased significantly in real terms over the past decade, to the point where current funding levels threaten the health and continued excellence of the discipline.”

3. This short additional note aims to amplify that submission by highlighting concerns that have been particularly identified for statistics, arising from the International Reviews of Mathematical Sciences of 2004 and 2010.

4. The International Review of Mathematical Sciences (IRMS) in 2004 identified, among other issues:

“a serious concern that now the UK is not producing a sufficient number of Ph.D. graduates in statistics to satisfy the demand from industry and at the same time to maintain the level of excellence in universities.”

5. The IRMS of 2010 found:

“once again that the UK statistics research enterprise is in a fragile and weakened condition, despite all its areas of excellence and the welcome measures taken during the intervening years to strengthen it.”

6. Statistics is a vital tool not only of scientific research but also of business and industry (among many other sectors). Advances in statistical methodologies and their applications extend across disciplines. The threats to the UK’s statistical capability are issues, the Royal Statistical Society hopes, will be of concern to the Science and Technology Committee.

27 April 2011

Prepared 7th November 2011