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Wednesday 11th March 2015


The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is working to raise the profile of the mathematical sciences and its importance to the public policy area.

Public policy is hugely important as it forms the framework by which government and non-governmental organisations work to resolve social, economic and political issues in society. This in turn determines the allocation and distribution of the resources needed to achieve these goals. Mathematics is essential to this process, as it allows us to model how the world works and increases understanding as to how social, economic, natural and industrial systems operate.

This workshop was part of a series of activities by the EPSRC, which aimed to connect mathematical sciences researchers with relevant professionals across Government to explore new mathematical approaches to tackling big policy questions. State-of-the-art mathematical techniques, methodologies and expertise can greatly improve modelling and problem-solving in policy making, ensuring that policies are fit-for-purpose and much more effective.

The programme followed on from a very successful launch event in December and was the first of two more applied workshop days, which focused on the cross-cutting and inter-dependent areas of Cities, Transport, Energy and Environment.


EPSRC Maths and Public Policy for Cities and Infrastructure Summary Note

This document highlights the key messages from the speaker’s presentations, as well as a summary of the questions and points raised during the panel discussion session.

Summary note:

Aims and Objectives

Mathematical Sciences offers a way of understanding fundamental questions about our world, and have demonstrable potential to deliver high-impact applications. This workshop:

  • highlighted state-of-the-art mathematical techniques, methodologies and expertise, which can greatly improve modelling and problem-solving in policy making
  • explored topics and challenges that would benefit from closer future interaction

Talks from leading mathematicians and civil servants highlighted what maths can do for policy in these areas and the key policy challenges and opportunities where new insights and approaches could help. This included case studies and exemplars for applications, while policy practitioners presented government perspectives, such as issues and challenges for developing and implementing policy.

There were also opportunities for discussion and networking in small groups to look at possible questions and applications within specific areas of policy or mathematical expertise. The main themes included:

  • Cities – mathematics for a future cities framework, exemplars of applications
  • Transport – mathematical modelling of traffic systems
  • Energy – modelling variability and uncertainty in energy systems, inference techniques for planning sustainable energy
  • Environment – probability modelling to attribute weather events to climate change

Registration and Venue

This event was aimed at senior stakeholders from Government, academia and other relevant non-governmental organisations. Those working in policy roles such as Analysts, Operational Researchers, Modellers and Economists would have also found this workshop particularly relevant.

The workshop took take place at the Church House Conference Centre, London. Please see the link for further information about the venue.