Institute of Mathematics and its Applications

The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) is the UK's chartered professional body for mathematicians and one of the UK's learned societies for mathematics (the other main one being the London Mathematical Society).

The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA)
TypeLearned society
HeadquartersSouthend-on-Sea, Essex
  • UK
Key people
Professor Alistair Fitt (President)
David Youdan (Executive Director)

The IMA aims to advance mathematics and its applications, promote and foster research and other enquiries directed the advancement, teaching and application of mathematics, to seek to establish and maintain high standards of professional conduct for members and to seek to promote, encourage and guide the development of education and training in mathematics.[1]


In 1959, the need for a professional and learned body for mathematics and its applications was recognised independently by both Sir James Lighthill and a committee of the heads of the mathematics departments of several colleges of technology together with some interested mathematicians from universities, industry and Government research establishments.[2] After much discussion, the name and constitution of the institute was confirmed in 1963 and the IMA was approved as a company limited by guarantee in 1964.[2]

There have been 24 presidents of the IMA since Sir James Lighthill.[3] The list of presidents has included, Professor George Alfred Barnard, Professor Charles Coulson, Sir Hermann Bondi, The Duke of Edinburgh, Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw, Sir Samuel Frederick Edwards, Sir Harry Pitt, Professor Lord Julian Hunt, Professor David Crighton, Professor Stephen Reid, Professor John McWhirter, Professor Tim Pedley, Professor Peter Grindrod, and Professor David Abrahams.


The IMA has 5,000 members, ten percent of whom live outside the United Kingdom. Forty percent of members are employed in education (schools through to universities) and sixty percent work in commercial and governmental organisations.[4] The Institute awards 5 grades of membership within 3 groups.[5]

Corporate membership

Fellow (FIMA) Fellows have a minimum of seven years experience and hold a senior managerial or technical position involving the use of, or training in, mathematics.

Member (MIMA) Members have an appropriate degree, a minimum period of three years training and experience after graduation and a position of responsibility involving the application of mathematical knowledge or training in mathematics.

Leading to corporate membership

Associate Member (AMIMA) Associate Member hold a degree in mathematics, a joint degree in mathematics with another subject or a degree with a sufficient mathematical component such as would be expected in physics or engineering.

Students Student Members are undertaking a course of study which will lead to a qualification that meets Associate Member requirements.

Non-professional membership

Affiliate No requirements are necessary for entry into this grade.

Professional status

In 1990 the Institute was incorporated by Royal Charter[4] and was subsequently granted the right to award Chartered mathematician (CMath) status.[6] The Institute may also nominate individuals for the award of Chartered Scientist (CSci) under license from the Science Council. The institute can also award individual Chartered Mathematics Teacher (CMathTeach).


Mathematics Today

Mathematics Today is a general-interest mathematics publication aimed primarily at Institute members, published 6 times a year and containing articles, reviews, reports and other news on developments in mathematics and its applications.[7]

Research journals

Eight research journals are published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the IMA.[8]

Other publications

The IMA began publishing a podcast, Travels in a Mathematical World on 4 October 2008.[9] The IMA also publishes conference proceedings, monographs and special interest group newsletters.[10]


The Institute runs 8–10 conferences[11] most years. These are specialist meetings where new research is presented and discussed.[12]

Education activities

The IMA runs a wide range of mathematical activities through The Higher Education Services Area and The Schools and Further Education Group committees.[13]

The IMA operates a Programme Approval Scheme, which provides an 'approval in principle' for degree courses that meet the educational requirements for Chartered Mathematician. For programmes to be approved, the IMA requires the programme to be an honours degree of at least three years length, which meets the required mathematical content threshold of two-thirds. The programmes also need to meet the QAA benchmark for Mathematics and the Framework for High Education Qualification.[14]

The IMA provides Education Grants of up to £600 to allow individuals from the UK working in schools or Further/Higher Education to help with the attendance at or the organisation of a mathematics educational activity such as attendance at a conference, expenses to cover a speaker coming into a school, organising a session for a conference.[15]

The IMA also employs a University Liaison Officer to promote mathematics and the IMA to university students undertaking mathematics and help act as a means of support.[16] As part of this support the IMA runs the University Liaison Grants Scheme to provide university mathematical societies with grants of up to £400 to organise more activities and work more closely with the IMA.


The Councils of the IMA and the London Mathematical Society jointly award the Christopher Zeeman Medal, dedicated to recognising excellence in the communication of mathematics[17] and the David Crighton Award dedicated to the recognition of service to mathematics and the wider mathematics community.[18]

The IMA with the British Applied Mathematics Colloquium (BAMC) award a prize for original research every two years, this is called the Lighthill-Thwaites Prize.

The IMA awards the Leslie Fox Prize for Numerical Analysis, the Catherine Richards Prize for the best articles in Mathematics Today, and the IMA Gold Medal[19] for outstanding contribution to mathematics and its applications over the years.

The IMA awards student-level prizes at most universities which offer mathematics around the UK. Each student prize is a year's membership of the IMA.[20]


The IMA has Branches in the regions London, East Midlands, Lancashire and the North West, West Midlands, West of England, Ireland and Scotland,[21] which run local activities (like talks by well known mathematicians). Its headquarters are in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.

Early Career Mathematicians Group

The Early Career Mathematicians Group of the IMA hold a series of conferences for mathematicians in the first 15 years of their career among other activities.

Social networking

As well as all the conferences, meetings and group activities that are held across the country the IMA operates groups on Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn, and has a Twitter feed.

Interaction with other bodies

Along with the London Mathematical Society, the Royal Statistical Society, the Edinburgh Mathematical Society and the Operational Research Society, forms the Council for the Mathematical Sciences.[22] The IMA is a member of the Joint Mathematical Council (JMC) and informs the deliberations of the Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (ACME).[23]

The IMA has representatives on Bath University Court, Bradford University Court, Cranfield University Court, Engineering Technology Board and Engineering Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, EPSRC Public Understanding of Science Committee, Heads of Departments of Mathematical Sciences, International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Joint Mathematical Council, LMS Computer Science Committee, LMS International Affairs Committee, LMS Women in Maths Committee, Maths, Stats & OR Network (part of the HEA), Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, Science Council, Science Council Registration Authority, The Association of Management Sciences (TAMS) and University of Wales, Swansea Court[24]

See also


  1. Listing, Charity Commission
  2. History Archived 17 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
  3. List of IMA Presidents Archived 27 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
  4. IMA About us. Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 14 January 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link). Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
  6. IMA Chartered Mathematician. Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
  7. IMA Mathematics Today. Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
  8. IMA Journals. Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
  9. Travels in a Mathematical World, a maths podcast by Peter Rowlett, Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
  10. Publications Archived 17 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
  11. IMA Conferences calendar. Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, (13 September 2013).
  12. IMA Conferences. Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
  13. Education Archived 17 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
  14. IMA University degree programme accreditation Archived 13 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
  15. Archived 27 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  16. Archived 27 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  17. IMA Christopher Zeeman Medal. Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
  18. IMA David Crighton Medal. Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
  19. "IMA Gold Medal". Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  20. Omleiding.
  21. Archived 27 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  22. Council for Mathematical Sciences, CMS. (4 January 2013).
  23. Archived 27 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  24. IMA Representatives on External Organisations Archived 4 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
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