- the state of mathematics in the UK is good, with excellence distributed over the whole country;
- there is a danger that the increased concentration of funding to larger instiutions could damage excellence outside these centres;
- communication between EPSRC and the grassroots mathematics community is poor; and
- the representation of women in mathematics is lamentable, and needs to be addressed far more vigorously.
The mood turned a little less positive when David Delpy (Chief Exec of EPSRC) responded. He seemed to suggest that EPSRC was unlikely to pay any attention to the regional distribution of excellence and will continue to encourage centralization (since this is stated policy it is not a surprise, but his insistence that this was for academic reasons was a bit galling and I made a rather clumsy and irritated intervention and had to be helped out by Malcolm MacCallum of the Heilbronn Institute). He also made very dismissive comments about the mathematics learned societies -- emphasizing that they are plural!
Oh well, some of these things (representation of women for example) should be taken up by the community anyway, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for action on the support of excellence across the discipline and wherever it may be.
The implications for funding are still confused.