Mathematics is not redundant
Under the name of "shaping for excellence", the University of Leicester will decrease its fundamental research capacity and the quality of our degree programmes.
In maths, it looks like this: the University VC proposes to cease research in pure mathematics. That is, to make redundant all pure mathematicians (in the middle of a pandemic) and rehire just three teaching-focused lecturers to cover for the undergraduate programmes.
...to ensure a future research identity in AI, computational modelling, digitalisation and data science requires ceasing research in Pure Mathematics in order to invest and extend activities in these areas
In fact they give no concrete plan "to invest or extend activities", just to cut in fundamental mathematics research - an area which students need to learn from the best practitioners. The plan to drop pure maths will cause long term damage to the quality and reputation of the department that remains. Colleagues in applied mathematics and actuarial science have expressed this to the management, and have been ignored.
What can you do?
- Sign this petition, to strongly request the Executive Board makes the hard choice, and steps back from the plans to destroy mathematics at the University of Leicester.
- Add your position/affiliation if appropriate and in the comments field any message of support for affected staff.
- Pass on the link to n colleagues, and share on your favourite social media.
- If you hold some sway, you might email, write to or phone the Vice Chancellor. If you don't... forward to someone who does.
Other press coverage:
Update: This petition has been linked to from reddit and in the Chinese press:
- “基础数学没用”，百年名校要裁撤数学系补贴AI研究，4000多学者联合抗议 (31 Jan. Reading the google translation it seems there are a few factual errors in this article)
- Another: 转投AI？英国这所大学决议裁掉数学系，激怒了菲尔兹奖得主 (4 Feb.) and translation
Update²: Petitions and open letters in support of other staff at the University of Leicester whose jobs are at risk:
- Leicester Mathematics Students' Petition
- Leicester Mathematics PhD Students' Petition
- Foundations of Computer Science
- Leicester Informatics Students' Petition
- School of Business
- Department of Neuroscience, Psychology & Behaviour - Students' Petition
- Medieval Literature
- University Library and Student Services
- Leicester Students' petition: stop the redundancies, protect the student experience
The undersigned would strongly request that the University of Leicester reconsiders the decision to cease research in Pure Mathematics, and withdraws any threat of redundancy.