Background

A recent discipline profile of the mathematical sciences (published February 2012) is available here.

Five national reports on the mathematical sciences have been published in the recent past:

  1. “Mathematical Sciences in Australia 1981: A review by the National Committee for Mathematics” Australian Academy of Science, 1982.
  2. “Mathematical Sciences: Adding to Australia”, prepared by the National Committee for Mathematics of the Australian Academy of Science, National Board of Employment, Education and Training, 1996.
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  3. “Statistics at Australian Universities: An SSAI‐sponsored Review”, Statistical Society of Australia Inc, 2005.
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  4. “Mathematics and Statistics: Critical skills for Australia’s future”, a National Strategic Review of the Mathematical Sciences in Australia, the Australian Academy of Science, 2006.
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  5. “A National Strategy for Mathematical Sciences in Australia” National Committee for Mathematical Sciences, Australian Academy of Science 2009.
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There have also been reviews and reports of education in the mathematical sciences:

  1. “Review of Education in Mathematics, Data Science and Quantitative Disciplines”, Report to the Group of Eight Universities by Gavin Brown, Go8, 2009.
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  2. “The Preparation of Mathematics Teachers in Australia”, a report prepared for the Australian Council of Deans of Science by Kerri-Lee Harris and Felicity Jensz, 2006.
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The reviews contained a number of recommendations for bodies ranging from departments of mathematics and Vice-Chancellors to government ministers, state and federal government departments and funding bodies. The past reviews have achieved many positive outcomes, such as:

  • Increased Commonwealth support for undergraduate places in mathematics and statistics.
  • Increased awareness of mathematics and statistics.

However, many important recommendations have not yet been implemented.

Decadal plans in other discipline areas include astronomy and astrophysics, Earth sciences, Earth system science and space science. A decadal plan in physics is currently being finalised.  There have been two decadal plans in astronomy and astrophysics, one for 1996–2005 and one for 2006–2016. All have been completed under the auspices of the Australian Academy of Science.

Other countries have regularly undertaken reviews and planning exercises in the mathematical sciences, either by National Academies, as in the USA, or by funding bodies, such as the Science Research Councils in the UK.

In February 2011, the National Committee for Mathematical Sciences agreed to develop a forwarding looking plan for the mathematical sciences in Australia.

A seed statement, including vision and goals, was discussed at a special session at the Australian Mathematical Society conference in Wollongong in September 2011. The statement can be found here.

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