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World-class Norwegian mathematicians

The Research Council of Norway commissioned a committee of international experts to carry out the evaluation. The committee was headed by Professor Ulrike Tillmann of the University of Oxford. The objective was to provide a critical review of Norwegian mathematics research in an international perspective as well as international input on what needs to be done to meet future challenges.

High standard

Research in the mathematical sciences at Norwegian universities holds a very high international standard. Since the previous evaluation in 2002, positive developments have taken place in particular in applied mathematics and statistics.

matte Research in the mathematical sciences at Norwegian universities holds a very high international standard, but insufficient recruitment to the field, particularly of women, is a serious problem.

A publication and citation analysis performed in connection with the evaluation shows that Norwegian mathematicians have a high publication rate and rank at the top in terms of citations in international scientific publications.

According to various surveys, Norway’s expenditures in high-technological and industrial research are too low. As a result, the Norwegian mathematical community has not participated on a par with other countries in developments in the field of industrial mathematics in recent years.

Challenges: recruitment and mobility

The evaluation committee points out that the Norwegian mathematics community is facing a significant challenge with regard to recruitment to the numerous positions that will be opening up in the near future due to retirement. The committee notes that there are not enough younger mathematicians to fill these posts.

Women are significantly underrepresented in the mathematical sciences and comprise only 11 per cent of the tenured staff and post-doctoral fellows at the institutions evaluated. The proportion of younger women mathematicians is not increasing, which is cause for concern.

The committee also points out that while there is excellent collaboration between Norwegian universities and research groups within the mathematical sciences, there is a need for greater international mobility.

Evaluation of research in the mathematical sciences

The evaluation encompasses departments in the mathematical sciences at the universities of Oslo, Bergen, Tromsø, Stavanger and Agder, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Ås. Research on applied mathematics, numerical methods and statistics is also conducted at independent research institutes, but these did not participate in the evaluation.

Evaluation committee

Together, the eight members of the evaluation committee represent expertise in all of the main disciplines in the mathematical sciences:

  • Professor Ulrike Tillmann, University of Oxford, UK (Chair) 
  • Professor Cheryl Praeger, University of Western Australia, Australia
  • Professor Joachim Cuntz, University of Münster, Germany 
  • Professor Aline Bonami, University of Orléans, France 
  • Professor Paul Linden, University of Cambridge, UK 
  • Professor Barbara Gentz, University of Bielefeld, Germany 
  • Professor Holger Rootzén, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden 
  • Professor Björn Engquist, University of Texas at Austin, USA



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