The formation of The Wales Institute of Mathematical and Computational Sciences (WIMCS) will bring together individuals and groups in mathematical and computational sciences in Wales to provide the critical mass of high quality researchers who will achieve international recognition for mathematical research excellence. The aim of the Institute is to enhance the standing of mathematics and computation in Wales, to foster links with industry, commerce and business, to generate substantial research funding and to provide a forum for education and public awareness of the mathematical sciences. Furthermore, it will provide the foundation for a mathematical sciences base to support inter-disciplinary research projects.
To achieve its aim the Institute will :
- Establish strong research clusters consisting of individuals and groups based on different campuses, and/or different departments, to promote excellence in research and teaching by focusing activities and fostering collaboration.
- Further links between the partner institutions and other HEIs in Wales.
- Foster collaborative links with industry, business and commerce.
- Be a catalyst for obtaining funding for new initiatives from a variety of external sources, such as EPSRC.
- Be instrumental in building up strengths in areas currently under-represented or even missing in Wales.
- Raise the profile of mathematics and its applications across a broad spectrum of contemporary science and technology.
- Establish outreach activities aimed to enhance the interaction between the universities and the schools to help invigorate the study of mathematical and computational sciences amongst students.
- Support long-term, critical mass at the interfaces between the mathematical sciences and other disciplines.
- Promote high risk, high return projects and collaborative research.
- Form research networks that will promote dialogue between mathematicians, statisticians and operational researchers and the wider research community.
- Undertake public engagement activities of researchers in the mathematical sciences.
- Set the framework and assure the funding for a sustainable Institute which will serve as a national centre for maintaining and enhancing excellence in mathematical and computational sciences.
THE SCOPE AND SCALE OF THE ACTIVITY
The Institute will be a focus for all mathematical-related research across Wales. Whilst the four partner institutions are the prime drivers of the initiative, the Institute will welcome participation from other education institutions, industry, commerce and business. The Institute will also have a remit to link with schools to support activities focused on raising the profile of the mathematical sciences in pre-university education. A fundamental focus of the Institute will be to develop links and have involvement from business, industry and commerce within Wales.
Unlike some areas, research in the mathematical sciences is less dependent upon equipment and more focused on people. Institute Professorships and Institute Research Fellows will be at the heart of generating increased collaboration. These staff will be responsible for initiating activities that, whilst linking with existing staff, will deliver the aims and objectives of the Institute.
|Institution||Professor||Reasearch Fellow||Person Years|
In addition, the Institute will have a Director, who will be supported by an administrator.
In the initial phase efforts will concentrate on establishing research clusters and networks with the aim of bringing together staff that are distributed over different campuses and departments. Forming research clusters to increase the interaction and collaboration between groups and individuals will give us the critical mass to ensure that Wales not only stays at the current edge of research and teaching but is able to establish a substantial international profile. A good example of this is Statistics and OR where there is an urgent need to strengthen representation throughout Wales in these subjects which are of such importance in interdisciplinary research as well as in commerce and industry. By generating collaboration in research, for example with the existing groups in Economics and the Medical School at Swansea, the Statistics/OR cluster will strengthen representation and be a facilitator for work within and outside the partner institutions. In addition we will make efforts to build up research clusters in important areas currently missing or under-represented. Good examples are biomathematics, cryptography, coding and security systems.
More specifically, through the clusters, the Institute will:
- Introduce networks with the objectives to:
- Have clearly defined and testable objectives and a well defined purpose which is visible beyond its membership.
- Engage industry, commerce and business.
- Nurture research ideas between its members and to facilitate the transfer of knowledge to a broader community.
- Have an identified active core membership representing a critical mass (in terms of the proportion of the research community) with complementary skills. Each core member should have defined objectives and roles within the Network.
- Provide a forum for debate that will encourage broad, wide ranging, innovative thinking. Provocative meeting agendas will help to encourage debate.
- Link with other existing Network activities e.g. UK / EU / International.
- Consider ways of working, Network operation, Network management and Network ownership at an early point in the life of the Network.
- Develop methods to enhance communication with the wider community, for example establish a web site.
- Organise workshops and conferences to provide useful face-to-face meetings that will prove to be invaluable and more effective than electronic communications alone.
- Develop a mailing list to enable regular communication within the community.
- Form sub-groups within a Network, as required.
- Promote involvement of the Network to interested parties.
- Consider the role that it can play in education and training through Continuing Professional Development courses.
- Make full use of video conference and Access Node facilities to facilitate interaction on a regular basis.
- Promote discussions on a programme of joint masters degrees with possible pump-priming from partners’
- Collaborative Training Accounts from EPSRC.
- Develop links with other research activities within and outside Wales. Of particular interest will be the fostering of links to inter-disciplinary research projects not only in academia but also with industry, commerce and business. iv. Develop programmes, including joint masters and Summer Schools, which will involve the wider mathematical sciences community outside Wales.
- Promote joint supervision of PhD students in an effort to stimulate collaboration and to enhance the student experience.
- Organise seminars, workshops and symposia.
- Strengthen existing links and develop new links with schools, commerce and industry.
- Bid to bring more international conferences to Wales.
Some of the items listed above already constitute a significant part of current activities, and the role of WIMCS will be to provide the framework and environment in which such activities are co-ordinated and enhanced.