The Mathematics Promotion Unit (MPU) seeks out opportunities for bringing mathematics, and the role of mathematics, to the attention of policymakers and advisers, the wider public and the media. It also provides a resource for UK policymakers, the media and the wider public to call upon.
The unit has a steering group, comprising members of the LMS and IMA. It is staffed by the MPU officer, Dr John Johnston and is based in De Morgan House, London.
The MPU’s role is as a gateway between those working in the mathematical sciences community and a range of interest groups from government departments, agencies and Parliament through science, engineering, business and financial bodies to schools, universities, their students and beyond.
It responds to media enquiries and puts out press releases, but also works to keep other organisations informed of mathematics issues. The MPU provides a resource for anyone wishing to access the mathematics community by maintaining an up to date list of experts.
The MPU has been instrumental in bringing together the many organisations working in the mathematics community. To do this, the MPU set up the MATHS-PROM network, which is made up of people who work in promoting mathematics. The group meets several times a year and is kept together by an email network.
The work of the MPU is varied and includes:
- meeting with a wide range of journalists, science organisations and lobby groups
- setting up meetings with MPs with an interest in the mathematical sciences and universities
- providing publicity for a range of events – eg the £3.3 million HEFCE-funded project ‘more maths grads’ aiming to widen and increase participation in the mathematical sciences; information on its successor is available here
- working with the British Association to produce publicity highlighting the mathematics content of events at its Festival of Science in York
- producing press releases, policy round-ups and consultation responses on issues in the mathematical sciences.