Below the line is a petition in support of the Combinatorics group at the University of Strathclyde. Below that are instructions for supporting this petition. Time is short, and we have not been able to organise a more sophisticated method of signing.
We the undersigned express our extreme concern at the proposal by the Computer and Information Sciences department at the University of Strathclyde to close the highly successful Combinatorics group in the department.
The group, though small (three members of staff), has a very strong track record. They produced 35% of the department’s 4* papers in the current REF, earning nearly a million pounds of REF and grant income in the last four years. Members of the group have held important administrative positions in the department. Also, in 2017, the group organised the high-profile and successful British Combinatorial Conference.
The department feels that Discrete Mathematics can be taught by members of staff in other research areas such as Mathematically Structured Programming, Data Analytics and Cybersecurity. We feel that this underestimates the role of Discrete Mathematics in Computer Science, and point out the dangers of having a fundamental subject taught by non-specialists.
Last year, the Bond report on “The Era of Mathematics” pointed to the importance of mathematics underpinning our economy and society, and examples and scope for knowledge exchange in all parts of mathematics, and made a case for significant increases in funding, especially at the PhD and postdoctoral level. We imagine that the Combinatorics group at Strathclyde would be well placed to benefit from this. We believe that it is never a good time for a university to withdraw from such an important area of Computer Science and Mathematics, but the timing here seems particularly bad.
We urge the department to reconsider this recommendation.
If you wish to support this petition, please email Peter Cameron (firstname.lastname@example.org), simply giving your name and University affiliation (if you have one) and the statement “I support this petition”. I will do the rest.