Thursday, 24 September 2009

New Conferences and Money

The IMA website http://www.ima.org.uk/index.htm has a number of useful resources for mathematicians. One of the things that the IMA offers is the small grants scheme the purpose of which is to facilitate research activity in applied mathematics (http://www.ima.org.uk/learned_soc/grant.htm). The scheme allows mathematicians to apply for small sums (up to £600) too support research activities (such as workshops conferences, talks, research etc.). You need to fill in a form and at least one of the applicants must be a member of the IMA. However if you are a strapped for cash mathematics researcher wanting a bit more funding for a specific Maths activity this might be worth checking out.

The IMA Younger 11th Younger Mathematicians Conference is up coming in November 2009 see http://www.ima.org.uk/Conferences/11th_younger_mathematician.html for more information. There are a number of excellent speakers including
· Dr Nilgun Canakgoz, Lloyd's Franchise Performance
· Dr Jonathan Carter, Imperial College, London
· Dr William Parnell, Manchester University
· Zia Rahman, Careers Coordinator, More Maths Grads
· Makhan Singh, National Project Manager, More Maths Grads
· Dr David J Smith, Birmingham University
· Professor Peter Styring, Sheffield University: EPSRC Senior Media Fellow, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, Professor of Public Engagement
· Helen Thornewell, Surrey University
I do hope that many of you will attend.

I thought I would discuss some money saving tips as part of this blog. One of the problems with us mathematicians (OK not all of us but definitely some of us) is we become too involved with the problems we want to solve and do not think about things like finances.
In recent years I have been using the Money saving websites http://www.moneymagpie.com/ http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/, http://www.moneysupermarket.com/ (and there are many other sites out there). I have found these to be a godsend in helping to control household budgets and not overspend on things like
· Shopping
· Insurance
· Meals Out
· Electricity
The websites also very useful for dealing with credit card debt and provide useful information on mortgages and banking amongst others. I do recommend you look at these sites if you are not aware of them and try a few of the ideas presented in them. However one word of warning be careful and do not rush into anything too quickly (make sure you check all the facts and get all relevant information).

The following may also be of interest to those thinking about doing a degree but are concerned about the debt they may be in when leaving University. Over the last few years I have been undertaking a part time statistics course with the Open University (OU, http://www3.open.ac.uk/), partially to keep up with my Continuing Professional Development (CPD-More on this in the next Blog). My, courses with the OU require me to spend approximately 9 hours per week (on top of my 37-hour working week) across 9 months of the year, and this can go up to 16 hours per week (for larger courses). It does not sound too appealing does it, and to be honest there have been times where I have felt the strain, but it really just requires determination (it take between 6-12 years to do a degree with the Open University assuming you do one course per year) and effort. Now I am not advocating the Open University as there are other internet sites (such as http://www.icslearn.co.uk/) where you can learn, however if you are working and paying for your studies at the same this at least will reduce (if not completely obliterate) the amount of debt you are in by the end of the course. It will also show to potential employers that you are committed to your job, your professional development and that you have real world experience from your job. Distance learning may not be right for everyone but it is something you can consider.

My next Blog will focus on what I do for Continuing Professional Development and why it is important.

Please note that are all of the above are my own personal opinions and not necessarily the opinion of the’ Institute of Mathematics and its Applications’ or any other organisation I may have mentioned.

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