Mathematical Sciences Engagement with the Global Challenges Research Fund at ICMS

Lead Research Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Department Name: S of Mathematical and Computer Sciences


The proposal will fund a five day workshop at ICMS, Edinburgh, that will bring together mathematical scientists and interdisciplinary partners from across the globe to identify areas for collaboration in the areas covered by of the Global Challenges Research Fund. These include
Equitable Access to Sustainable Development, i.e. secure and resilient food systems supported by sustainable marine resources and agriculture; sustainable health and well being; inclusive and equitable quality education; clean air, water and sanitation; affordable, reliable, sustainable energy.
Sustainable Economies and Societies
Sustainable livelihoods supported by strong foundations for inclusive economic growth and innovation
Resilience and action on short-term environmental shocks and long-term environmental change
Sustainable cities and communities
Sustainable production and consumption of materials and other resources
Human Rights, Good Governance and Social Justice
Understand and respond effectively to forced displacement and multiple refugee crises
Reduce conflict and promote peace, justice and humanitarian action
Reduce poverty and inequality, including gender inequalities.

Planned Impact

The immediate aims of the meeting are (i) to identify possible areas for which a special call to the mathematical sciences community would be likely to produce important insights, (ii) to produce a list of suggestions of short-term 'wins' using the mathematical sciences and (iii) a comprehensive list of potential partner institutions and individual researchers in the global south and their areas of research expertise. As a consequence, the meeting will also showcase, and offer a positive external view of, the impact of the people and research areas of mathematical sciences that fit the GCRF criteria. Reports will be in a form, with appropriate metrics, suitable for our natural partners (e.g. University Deans, the Royal Society, Innovate UK, Government ministers and advisers).


10 25 50
Description The funding was focussed at engaging the UK Mathematics community with the GCRF initiative. Specific challenges/problems were raised by mathematicians based in DAC list countries, and networking enabled the emerging community to discuss common research and future potential collaborations. The outputs for the meeting fed directly into the recent GCRF and UK mathematical sciences funding call, via EPSRC, and it is understood that several delegates who participated in this meeting submitted calls under this initiative. We are aware of several research visits that have occurred post meeting, within the community. The following DAC list countries were represented India, Brazil, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand , Zimbabwe, Colombia, Malaysia, Botswana, Vietnam, China. The Africa Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) were able to provide a wider Africa perspecitive .
Exploitation Route The report from this report fed the recent EPSRC call. Specific research initiatives were submitted under the recent EPSRC GCRF and maths funding calls. ICMS continues to maintain a mailing list to keep this new community aware of latest news/initiatives.

Specific areas (sustainable development goals) where the community is expected to provide input is

Sustaining Life
SDG 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
SDG 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Promoting Well-Being
SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Empowering Inclusion
SDG 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
SDG 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
SDG 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Protecting our Environment
SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
SDG 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Enabling Resilient Infrastructure
SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
SDG 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Sectors Agriculture

Food and Drink






Description the meeting was held in early 2018 and a report submitted in mid 2018. Subsequently, EPSRC announced the GCRF and UK Maths funding call. There was subsequent submissions by the community under this initiative. The research topics are wide ranging, but areas such as disease, energy, agriculture, climate were recurring themes.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Impact Types Policy & public services

Description Organisation of 5 day GCRF and UK Mathematical Sciences Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact 60 participants. Predominantly mathematicians based in UK and DAC list countries. The meeting considered areas where mathematics is already helping GCRF related research. Mathematicians from DAC list countries participated and highlighted particular problems in their countries which could benefit for greater interaction with UK Mathematicians and the GCRF initiative. DAC List country participants came from India, Brazil (2), Cambodia, Laos, Thailand (2), Zimbabwe, Colombia, Malaysia and Africa Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS). UK based researcher from DAClist countries were able to provide additional insight for Botswana, Zimbabwe, Vietnam, India (3), China, Brazil. The meeting also looked to involve UK basedresearchers with experience of teaching and/or research in DAC listed countries. In addition to these there were UK based researchers with minimal experience of working in these areas, who were keen to find out more and establish how their work could fit into future GCRF initiatives. Accordingly, the meeting benefitted from a mix of insights, experience and viewpoints.

The outputs from the meeting included a report, available via The recommendations from the report fed into the recent EPSRC Tackling global development challenges through mathematical sciences, Building capacity to tackle global development challenges through mathematical sciences research funding calls

There were multiple submissions to this call from participants at this meeting.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018