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Virtual Forum Announced for Knowledge Exchange in the Mathematical Sciences

Posted on 20/04/2020

In light of current events, the initiative seeks to explore how Industrial Mathematics can make use of virtual tools in order to offer support.


The Knowledge Transfer Network, Newton Gateway to Mathematics, Isaac Newton Institute (INI), and the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences (ICMS) are working with various representatives from the mathematical sciences community to develop a Virtual Forum for Knowledge Exchange in the Mathematical Sciences (V-KEMS).

The main aim is to identify a range of virtual approaches that will help address challenges from business and industry, the third sector, and other groups outside academia. These challenges may be long-standing or may have arisen directly as a consequence of the present disruption to UK society.


Many initiatives are already taking place to help provide infrastructure and resources to clinicians and others who are urgently helping to model the pandemic. Where appropriate, we are offering direct support to this activity.


However, we are also able to identify broader areas for input from the mathematical sciences community – for example tackling issues related to food supply and logistics etc. The mechanisms for delivery will include virtual study groups (VSGs), webinars and the formation of virtual teams of mathematicians. The latter will aim to rapidly clarify, formalise and triage the problems/challenges from business, industry, the public and third sectors, whether they are directly associated with the Covid-19 virus or of a wider, more longstanding nature.


At this stage, we propose 3 main activities:

  • Mathematical Support to Business, Industry, the Public and Third Sectors
  • Webinars/Scoping Meetings
  • Virtual Study Groups.


Mathematical Support to Business, Industry, the Public and Third Sectors

Where industry, business, the public or third sector has an identified challenge/problem that would benefit from mathematical input (such as physical modelling, statistics, data analysis etc.), the Forum is able to help facilitate this, by putting the organisation in contact with relevant individuals or teams from the mathematical sciences community who will undertake a scoping and triaging process.


Organisations are able to submit an online request for brokerage and the Gateway will endeavour to make the relevant introduction. More information is available on the Gateway support webpage.


Webinars/Scoping Meetings

The Forum will provide the infrastructure to host appropriate webinars/scoping meetings online. These could include one or several talks, with options to participate in parallel sessions via virtual breakout rooms. A number of activities are being developed. At this time, ICMS is able to help host the webinar, advertise the event, invite participants and support follow up activity. More information is available here.


Virtual Study Group

One potential way forward from the mathematical support and/or webinars is to tackle problems via a virtual study group. This Forum is exploring the feasibility of this and is trialling a few approaches during April 2020. A pilot virtual study group is scheduled for 20-23 April 2020. Further details are available here.


Forum Partners

The activities suggested here are what the Forum partners believe are required and achievable at the current time. If you have an idea that doesn’t fit into these categories then please contact do get in contact and we can discuss further.