30 May 2019
New mathematics research centre aims to boost UK's poor understanding of the subject
Loughborough University has announced it is to establish a new research centre focused on improving the way mathematics is taught in schools and colleges.
The Centre for Mathematical Cognition (CMC) will be based at the Mathematics Education Centre (MEC) – one of the most successful groups of mathematics education researchers in the UK.
The annual cost to the UK economy of poor mathematics skills is estimated to be up to £33bn.
Dr Camilla Gilmore, CMC co-director said: “Too many children struggle to achieve the maths skills they need. By linking basic and applied research on mathematics learning, we hope to be able to support teachers to help children achieve their potential.”
Eleven new academic posts will be associated with the Centre, from Professor to Research Fellow.
Funding for PhD students will also be available.
Professor Matthew Inglis, CMC co-director, added: “This strategic investment in mathematical cognition represents a once-in-a-career opportunity to bring together a group of world-leading academics who can work together to understand and improve mathematics learning.”
The new Centre’s activity will integrate three different stages of mathematics education research.
Colleagues will collaborate on basic scientific studies of learning, the design of pedagogical materials based on insights from such studies, and large-scale evaluations of educational interventions.
Because it is crucial that education research both informs, and is informed by, practising teachers, the new Centre will also establish a network of schools and colleges to share evidence-based practice, and ensure that its research activity is closely connected to classroom priorities.
A full recruitment campaign will be launched in the next few months.
Colleagues with academic expertise in mathematical cognition, educational design, or educational evaluation are warmly invited to make informal contact Camilla Gilmore or Matthew Inglis to discuss opportunities at the new Centre.
High levels of mathematics achievement are associated with enhanced employment outcomes for individuals, and with increased economic growth, but not all children achieve the level of mathematical skills that they are capable of.
Given this, the government’s Industrial Strategy White Paper places a strong emphasis on mathematics education, stating that “Improving the take up of maths qualifications and the quality of maths teaching across the education system is one of the most significant interventions that government can make to tackle STEM skills shortages and secure wider benefits for the economy”.