A new report Measuring the Economic Benefits of Mathematical Science Research spells out and puts a figure on the economic value of maths research in the UK. Its messages are powerful.
Researchers found that the value added to the economy by maths research directly is £208 billion, approximately 16% of the UK’s total Gross value added (GVA) (the value of output less the value of intermediate consumption).
It is estimated that in 2010, approx. 2.8 million jobs (around 10% of all jobs in the UK) were directly related to the mathematical sciences: in computer science and research and development and also across wide-ranging fields such as aerospace, pharmaceuticals, public administration, banking and finance, construction and education.
The picture painted is of research which also has wider – more indirect – impact on society and the economy. If you include ‘indirect’ and ‘induced economic impacts’ of mathematical science research, nearly 10 million people in the UK could, in some way, ‘owe’ their to maths research. A total GVA of £556 billion.
Statistical skills are at the core of the skills involved in maths research: the ability to ‘make sense of data’ (the first key skills area highlighted by the report), to ‘forecast’ and ‘to address uncertainty’. All three are important contributors.
It is not news to getstats that mathematical science research pervades many sectors, nor that it drives long-term economic growth through product innovation and greater efficiency: new tools, techniques, patents and commercial applications… however, having the information, the clear evidence this report offers, massively strengthens the case for the need for more of these skills.
The independent study, by consulting firm Deloitte, was commissioned by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in partnership with the Council for Mathematical Sciences (CMS), of which the Royal Statistical Society is a founding member.