UoA 10 Mathematical Sciences

Mathematics at the University of Exeter is one of the UK’s foremost centres of research in the field. Our research addresses a range of topics in Applied Mathematics, Pure Mathematics and Statistics. We run innovative research-led masters programmes and have strong links to the Environment and Sustainability Institute and the Exeter Initiative for Statistics and its Applications.

As a world-leading research centre we combine ground-breaking studies and the pursuit of knowledge with high-quality teaching and excellent academic support. We provide an environment where world-class research in mathematics is informed by the latest theoretical developments and applications of communal importance.

Our reputation for high quality research ensures we recruit research staff with an excellent track record who have been engaged in internationally innovative research.

We are one of only three UK universities to enjoy an academic partnership with the Met Office, based in Exeter, which promotes exchange of staff, research programmes and both formal and informal links.

Our activities are based at the Streatham Campus in Exeter and at our Cornwall Campus, which is home to our new £30million Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) which includes a major mathematics research group.

Key results

  • 83 per cent of research was graded as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*), a significant improvement on our RAE 2008 results where 59 per cent of research was rated as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*).
  • This unit received a national ranking of 24 out of 53 submissions for both world-leading (4*) and internationally excellent (3*) research.

Impact case studies

NameSummary
Improving the Met Office weather and climate prediction model Research by Professor John Thuburn and his group has made several key contributions to the formulation and development of ENDGame, the new dynamical core of the Met Office weather and climate prediction model. ENDGame has been shown to deliver improved accuracy and better computational performance at high processor counts compared to the current operational dynamical core, directly impacting the technological tools available to the Met Office. The economic value to the UK of the weather forecasts produced by the Met Office has been estimated to be in excess of £600million a year, while climate change projections inform policy decisions on mitigation and adaptation with huge economic implications.
Development of mathematical models for practice based commissioning budgets for adult mental health in the UK Professor Trevor Bailey led the methodological and computational development of new improved mathematical models to more fairly allocate resources, and particularly mental health resources, to GP practices in the UK within an interdisciplinary research team from the Universities of Plymouth, Southampton and St Andrews. The mental health services component of NHS Practice based commissioning (PBC) introduced by the Department of Health (DoH) from 2007 onwards, deals with resource allocation for specialist healthcare for some 400,000 patients with severe mental illness. From 2009 to 2011, the team’s mental health estimates, based upon the modelling efforts of Bailey, were used to set practice-level PBC budgets accounting for around £8billion of NHS funding, the DoH describing this as a ‘step-change improvement’ in how mental health needs are modelled.
Improved pricing of European natural catastrophe insurance by statistical modelling of storm clustering Statistical modelling of storms by Professor David Stephenson and co-workers in Mathematics has improved the understanding and thereby the pricing of insurance risk due to European windstorms and tropical cyclones. Clustering in these catastrophic natural hazards has been quantified using novel process-based statistical models, which have then been implemented by industry to improve insurance pricing, eg, on the integrated financial platform used by Willis actuaries to provide a more reliable view of risk as required by EU solvency II regulation. This research has raised awareness in the industry about storm clustering, and has stimulated significant improvements in the main vendor catastrophe models, which are the main tools used by insurance companies to price European windstorm insurance.
Changing the way the European space industry verifies the safety of complex systems The difficulty of certifying the safety (Verification and Validation – V&V) of increasingly complex and more autonomous Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) systems is now widely accepted to be a serious threat to the success of future space missions. In response to this threat, the European Space Agency has funded Dr Prathyush P Menon and his team to develop a suite of mathematical tools for the V&V of advanced GNC systems. These tools have now been widely adopted throughout the European Space industry, and have been successfully applied by major companies such as Astrium, Thales-Alenia and GMV to systems ranging from flexible and autonomous satellites, to launch vehicles and hypersonic re-entry vehicles.

Research groups

GroupAbout the Group
Centre for Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics (CGAFD) Research activity in applied mathematics, theoretical geophysics and astrophysics and numerical modelling relevant to weather, climate and extrasolar planets.
Centre for Systems, Dynamics and Control A focus for interdisciplinary research on the modelling of complex systems, dynamical systems, control theory and their applications, especially for systems biology
Exeter Climate Systems (XCS) The application of mathematics and statistics to key challenges facing weather and climate science, and link to the university's work on climate change and sustainable futures.
Centre for Mathematics and the Environment Research in Cornwall develops mathematics with applications to environmental and ecological challenges - mathematics for a 'Living Planet'. We work closely with the Environment and Sustainability Institute, and with the Centre for Ecology and Conservation and the European Centre for Environment and Human Health.
Pure Mathematics Pure Mathematics research at Exeter is mostly concerned with Number Theory, Arithmetic and Algebraic Geometry and related areas.

Institutes and centres

Institute / centreAbout the Institute / Centre
Mathematics Research Institute

Our Mathematics Research Institute coordinates a number of different, innovative programmes, training and projects between research groups.

There is a strong research culture in the department, which is reflected in our regular seminars and visits from internationally renowned scholars. These are run over the course of the academic year, cover a wide range of topics and provide students and academics from across the University with a platform to meet and discuss the latest topics in mathematics.

Exeter Initiative for Statistics and its Applications (ExIStA)

The Exeter Initiative for Statistics and its Applications is the region’s centre for statistical expertise. It brings together statisticians working in the University and local public and private sector organisations to foster and promote inter-disciplinary statistical activity.

UoA 10 Mathematical Sciences

Mathematics at the University of Exeter is one of the UK’s foremost centres of research in the field. Our research addresses a range of topics in Applied Mathematics, Pure Mathematics and Statistics. We run innovative research-led masters programmes and have strong links to the Environment and Sustainability Institute and the Exeter Initiative for Statistics and its Applications.

As a world-leading research centre we combine ground-breaking studies and the pursuit of knowledge with high-quality teaching and excellent academic support. We provide an environment where world-class research in mathematics is informed by the latest theoretical developments and applications of communal importance.

Our reputation for high quality research ensures we recruit research staff with an excellent track record who have been engaged in internationally innovative research.

We are one of only three UK universities to enjoy an academic partnership with the Met Office, based in Exeter, which promotes exchange of staff, research programmes and both formal and informal links.

Our activities are based at the Streatham Campus in Exeter and at our Cornwall Campus, which is home to our new £30million Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) which includes a major mathematics research group.

Key results

  • 83 per cent of research was graded as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*), a significant improvement on our RAE 2008 results where 59 per cent of research was rated as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*).
  • This unit received a national ranking of 24 out of 53 submissions for both world-leading (4*) and internationally excellent (3*) research.

Impact case studies

NameSummary
Improving the Met Office weather and climate prediction model Research by Professor John Thuburn and his group has made several key contributions to the formulation and development of ENDGame, the new dynamical core of the Met Office weather and climate prediction model. ENDGame has been shown to deliver improved accuracy and better computational performance at high processor counts compared to the current operational dynamical core, directly impacting the technological tools available to the Met Office. The economic value to the UK of the weather forecasts produced by the Met Office has been estimated to be in excess of £600million a year, while climate change projections inform policy decisions on mitigation and adaptation with huge economic implications.
Development of mathematical models for practice based commissioning budgets for adult mental health in the UK Professor Trevor Bailey led the methodological and computational development of new improved mathematical models to more fairly allocate resources, and particularly mental health resources, to GP practices in the UK within an interdisciplinary research team from the Universities of Plymouth, Southampton and St Andrews. The mental health services component of NHS Practice based commissioning (PBC) introduced by the Department of Health (DoH) from 2007 onwards, deals with resource allocation for specialist healthcare for some 400,000 patients with severe mental illness. From 2009 to 2011, the team’s mental health estimates, based upon the modelling efforts of Bailey, were used to set practice-level PBC budgets accounting for around £8billion of NHS funding, the DoH describing this as a ‘step-change improvement’ in how mental health needs are modelled.
Improved pricing of European natural catastrophe insurance by statistical modelling of storm clustering Statistical modelling of storms by Professor David Stephenson and co-workers in Mathematics has improved the understanding and thereby the pricing of insurance risk due to European windstorms and tropical cyclones. Clustering in these catastrophic natural hazards has been quantified using novel process-based statistical models, which have then been implemented by industry to improve insurance pricing, eg, on the integrated financial platform used by Willis actuaries to provide a more reliable view of risk as required by EU solvency II regulation. This research has raised awareness in the industry about storm clustering, and has stimulated significant improvements in the main vendor catastrophe models, which are the main tools used by insurance companies to price European windstorm insurance.
Changing the way the European space industry verifies the safety of complex systems The difficulty of certifying the safety (Verification and Validation – V&V) of increasingly complex and more autonomous Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) systems is now widely accepted to be a serious threat to the success of future space missions. In response to this threat, the European Space Agency has funded Dr Prathyush P Menon and his team to develop a suite of mathematical tools for the V&V of advanced GNC systems. These tools have now been widely adopted throughout the European Space industry, and have been successfully applied by major companies such as Astrium, Thales-Alenia and GMV to systems ranging from flexible and autonomous satellites, to launch vehicles and hypersonic re-entry vehicles.

Research groups

GroupAbout the Group
Centre for Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics (CGAFD) Research activity in applied mathematics, theoretical geophysics and astrophysics and numerical modelling relevant to weather, climate and extrasolar planets.
Centre for Systems, Dynamics and Control A focus for interdisciplinary research on the modelling of complex systems, dynamical systems, control theory and their applications, especially for systems biology
Exeter Climate Systems (XCS) The application of mathematics and statistics to key challenges facing weather and climate science, and link to the university's work on climate change and sustainable futures.
Centre for Mathematics and the Environment Research in Cornwall develops mathematics with applications to environmental and ecological challenges - mathematics for a 'Living Planet'. We work closely with the Environment and Sustainability Institute, and with the Centre for Ecology and Conservation and the European Centre for Environment and Human Health.
Pure Mathematics Pure Mathematics research at Exeter is mostly concerned with Number Theory, Arithmetic and Algebraic Geometry and related areas.

Institutes and centres

Institute / centreAbout the Institute / Centre
Mathematics Research Institute

Our Mathematics Research Institute coordinates a number of different, innovative programmes, training and projects between research groups.

There is a strong research culture in the department, which is reflected in our regular seminars and visits from internationally renowned scholars. These are run over the course of the academic year, cover a wide range of topics and provide students and academics from across the University with a platform to meet and discuss the latest topics in mathematics.

Exeter Initiative for Statistics and its Applications (ExIStA)

The Exeter Initiative for Statistics and its Applications is the region’s centre for statistical expertise. It brings together statisticians working in the University and local public and private sector organisations to foster and promote inter-disciplinary statistical activity.