Government funds Centres for Doctoral Training

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has announced government investment of £13m to fund three new Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) at the universities of Lancaster, Cambridge and Warwick.

These new centres are the first to be dedicated to mathematical sciences and are being created in addition to the existing 44 CDTs, which were set up in 2008 with £250m of EPSRC funding.

The new centres will open at the beginning of the next academic year and will each train at least 40 students over seven years. In addition to developing an original research project, each PhD student will receive a formal programme of taught coursework designed to broaden their skills and enhance their technical and interdisciplinary knowledge.

Each of the three new centres will have a different focus. At Lancaster University, students will be trained at the interface of statistics and operational research (OR).

At Cambridge University, students will be trained in a range of modern techniques of analysis for mathematical modelling.

Students at Warwick University will train in the area of applied mathematics, numerical analysis, probability and statistics and the interfaces between these areas.

The CDTs are being designed with close links to industry. The EPSRC points out that maths students have career options beyond theoretical mathematicians and can apply their mathematical reasoning throughout commerce and industry.

The council highlights one example of where an application of mathematical theory can occur even when it was not the intention. The insights from stochastic analysis and scientific computation, which were conceived initially in theoretical terms, now form the basis of the PageRank algorithm used by Google to order the results of a web search.