Mathematics: Higher Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 25th June 2021.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Chair, Work and Pensions Committee, Chair, Work and Pensions Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department is providing to universities on promoting and protecting the (a) teaching and (b) research of pure mathematics.

Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Chair, Work and Pensions Committee, Chair, Work and Pensions Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions his Department has had with Vice Chancellors on the promotion and protection of pure mathematics (a) teaching and (b) research at UK universities.

Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Minister of State (Education)

The department funds the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme (AMSP) which aims to increase participation and attainment in level 3 mathematics. The AMSP targets ensuring students in all 16-19 state-funded schools and colleges can access AS/A level mathematics and AS/A level further mathematics and helps them study these subjects to a higher level.

With AS and A level mathematics, 100% of the course is prescribed, but with AS and A level further mathematics, 50% of the content is a prescribed pure mathematics core. For the remaining 50% of the content, different options are available. These options vary between specifications and may include mechanics, statistics, discrete/decision mathematics and additional pure mathematics.

In May, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), published the research and development budget for financial year 2021/22, outlining how his department will allocate £11.35 billion.

BEIS is investing more money than ever before in core research, which will include pure mathematics. At the Spending Review in November 2020, BEIS announced that the government will increase investment in core UK Research and Innovation and National Academy funded research by more than £1 billion by 2023/24.

The government announced up to an additional £300 million for mathematical sciences in January 2020. This was new investment 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.

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