The Scottish Mathematical Sciences Training Centre (SMSTC) was founded in 2007 as a collaborative venture of Scottish universities (see below). It is one of the six UK "Taught Course Centres", originally funded by EPSRC.
The prime aim of SMSTC is to provide high-quality broad training in fundamental areas of mathematics and statistics for students beginning a PhD in any aspect of mathematical sciences. The level is intended to be comparable to that of first-year PhD courses in North America or mainland Europe.
The International Centre for Mathematical Sciences (ICMS) provide administrative services for SMSTC, and the website is provided by Fraser Murray (formerly Gillidanda).
The consortium members are:
- Heriot-Watt (two departments: Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics and Mathematics)
- St Andrews
The 2004 International Review of UK Research in Mathematics noted that "New PhDs from the UK usually have less breadth and experience than their peers from other countries."
In response in 2006 Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) issued a call and funded six taught course centres for the Mathematical Sciences, which all began operations in October 2007.
EPSRC provided follow-on funding to all six centres until September 2016. In common with other taught course centres, SMSTC is now funded principally by its member departments, although we have also received generous support from the Scottish Funding Council and the Glasgow Mathematical Journal Trust.
The other five centres are:
- London Taught Course Centre
- MAGIC - Mathematics Access Grid: Instruction and Collaboration
- Taught Course Centre based at Bath, Bristol, Imperial, Oxford and Warwick
- National Taught Course Centre in Operational Research
- Academy for PhD Training in Statistics
This article (by Penny Davies, then SMSTC Deputy Director) was originally published in the London Mathematical Society Newsletter.