The impact of mathematics in the French economy is growing, according to a study

About 3.3 million employees need mathematics, representing 18% of the French gross domestic product, according to the CNRS.

In France, 18% of gross domestic product (GDP) and 13% of salaried jobs, or 3.3 million, are impacted by mathematics, according to a study on Tuesday which shows their growing role in the French economy. The study, presented to the press by the CNRS, is an update of the one produced in 2015 on behalf of Amies (Agency for mathematics in interaction with business and society).

Its figures, based on data from 2019, are to be compared with those of the initial study, presented in 2015 and based on data from 2012. The impact of mathematics on GDP has fallen into the range of approximately 16 % to 18%. A level comparable to that of countries such as the United Kingdom. Moreover, where mathematics had an impact on 2.4 million jobs, today 3.3 million jobs are directly linked to their use. “The economic sovereignty of France rests more than ever on its mathematical sovereignty. We have a lead that is essential to maintain“, underlined the Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, in the preface to the report.

The study “confirms the significant impact of mathematics on employment and added value“Commented Christophe Besse, director of the National Institute of Mathematics and their interactions, presenting the document. The update of this report should feed the debates of the Assises des Mathématiques, scheduled in Paris from November 14 to 16, which aim to “draw up an inventory of mathematics in France, identify new needs in mathematics and formulate proposals“, he added.

The study is based on a documentary analysis, interviews with researchers, industrialists and experts, and on statistical data produced in particular by INSEE. The areas calling on applied mathematics appear more and more numerous: numerical simulations, cryptography, statistics, modelling…. The director of Amies, Véronique Maume-Deschamps, notably underlined agrowing impact of data usage“. With regard to research in connection with companies, she cited collaborations in the fields of health or the thermal management of buildings.

One of the challenges will be to respond to agrowing need for intermediate skillsin mathematics, according to Mr. Besse. That is to say, people capable of interpreting daily flows of data and indicators, as if to use artificial intelligence in court. “There are both new needs for mathematicians to work in these sectors and a need for training“, for people already working there, noticed Stéphane Jaffard, coordinator of the Mathematical Assises. But the report points to a risk of skills shortages, despite a growth in the number of students choosing a specialization in maths of 6% per year, noted Mr. Besse, while “at the same time there is a decrease in the number of teacher-researchers, and therefore less capacity to train“.

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The impact of mathematics in the French economy is growing, according to a study

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