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2021 continued to bring challenges for the Gateway, but we have embraced the opportunities and flexibility to develop and deliver virtual and semi virtual activity. For much of the reporting year, Gateway staff worked virtually, but ensured regular contact with colleagues, partners and stakeholders. As restrictions were eased, the Isaac Newton Institute reopened to staff and then a limited number of visitors. The majority of Gateway events have remained as virtual ones, making use of a wide variety of virtual technologies and networking activities that aim to replicate, as much as possible, the experience of attending a physical event. More recently, we have been able to hold hybrid events, with some attending physically and others joining online and this approach has been welcomed.
Much of the focus of the Gateway has been on collaborative virtual activity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Gateway’s role in V-KEMS (the Virtual Forum for Knowledge Exchange in the Mathematical Sciences) has remained a priority, with the aim to identify a range of virtual approaches to help address challenges from business and industry, the third sector, and other groups outside academia. Most of the challenges that have been explored resulted directly as a consequence of the disruption to UK society caused by COVID-19. V-KEMS delivery has been a truly collaborative programme and one that the Gateway and partners have built upon over the past year and also going forward.

Since January 2021, the Gateway has been leading on a specific programme of work to support efforts to model the COVID-19 pandemic and help guide the UK's response. The RAMP (Rapid Assistance in Modelling the Pandemic) Continuity Network is funded by UKRI and the Gateway has been delivering a series of meetings, workshops and virtual study groups to ensure continuance of relevant research and scientific networking. This has helped maintain strong communication links and further develop engagement with the wider modelling community, as well as other mathematicians and those from industry and the public sector – particularly policy makers.

In November 2020, the Gateway was pleased to be appointed as the UK representative within EU-MATHS-IN - a European network that aims to establish connections between stakeholders working in industrial mathematics. EU-MATHS-IN was created in 2013 in response to the Forward Look on Mathematics in Industry report which recommended that the countries of Europe needed to work together to facilitate interaction on mathematics and innovation. The Gateway Scientific Advisory Panel acts as the network for the UK and has presented case studies and exemplars at a number of virtual events over the year.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Newton Gateway has continued to extend its reach across different sectors. The ability to engage virtually has enabled an increased number of participants to attend Gateway events offering greater opportunities for interaction between those in industry, the public sector and academia, often for individuals who have not worked together previously. As in previous years, activities have been delivered in partnership with other organisations, as detailed within the Annual Report, which has ensured further collaborative opportunities with new connections made across a breadth of sectors and subjects.
As last year, there have been challenges faced by us all and the Newton Gateway to Mathematics is very grateful for the support given by INI, the University of Cambridge and our colleagues, partners and stakeholders. We have been in the fortunate position to continue to work effectively in novel virtual ways and have ensured continued delivery of partnership activity. We look forward to continuing to develop these ways of working, including the delivery of hybrid events, but are hopeful to being able to welcome further participants at our physical events at INI and elsewhere.