The University of Cambridge has been awarded its third Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education; it was announced yesterday that the Millennium Mathematics Project, based at the University of Cambridge, has been awarded the 2005 Prize for Higher and Further Education.

The prize honours ‘outstanding achievement and excellence’ in universities and colleges across the United Kingdom. Recipients of the prestigious awards must demonstrate they benefit not only the institution, but the wider community. The Awards Council look in particular for ‘initiative, innovation and originality’.

The Millennium Mathematics Project (MMP) was launched in 1999 as a joint project between the Faculties of Mathematics and Education. The aim of the project is to support maths education in primary and secondary schools throughout the UK and to promote the development of mathematical skills and understanding. This is done through enrichment and extension activities beyond the school curriculum, and through activities designed to increase mathematical understanding among the general public.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alison Richard, said: “Cambridge has for many years worked with schools through a wide range of activities, and the University is strongly committed to supporting learning in the wider educational community. The choice of the Millennium Mathematics Project as Cambridge’s entry for the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes reflects the importance that the University attaches to this type of outreach activity, and I congratulate the Project on this recognition of its achievement.”

Professor John D Barrow FRS, the Director of the Millennium Mathematics Project, said: “This is a tribute to the vision of those in the University who initiated this project, those in the outside world who added their support for it, and all the members of our dedicated team who have made such a wide-ranging impact in schools and amongst the general public. This prize is also a welcome confirmation of the vital importance of mathematics to the United Kingdom.”

The project’s activities have a significant regional, national and international impact, and MMP resources have been repeatedly commended by the Department for Education and Skills. The MMP includes a number of complementary programmes:

• The NRICH website ( publishes free mathematics education enrichment and problem-solving material for ages 5 to 19, attracting 49 million hits in 2004/5. NRICH includes an online mathematics discussion service, AskNRICH, staffed by Cambridge University student volunteers (1,700 new users have registered since October 2004), and was the lead partner in an award-winning project to create a multilingual maths thesaurus.

• Plus ( is an online maths magazine, including a digital careers library, for ages 15 to adult, publishing feature articles and news about the beauty and practical applications of mathematics to science, the arts and society. Plus received more than 31 million hits during 2004/5.

• The Motivate video-conferencing project links universities to primary and secondary schools, working with over 2,500 pupils a year, from Jersey and Belfast to Glasgow and inner-city London, with international links to Pakistan, South Africa, India and Singapore.

• The Millennium Mathematics Project also works face to face in schools across the UK, running a Hands-On Maths Roadshow, Enigma Schools Project codebreaking days, pupil workshops and continuing professional development courses and seminars for teachers. In 2004/5 the MMP worked with pupils and teachers from more than 1,200 schools through these activities.

This is the third Queen’s Anniversary Prize to be awarded to Cambridge: prizes have previously been awarded in 2002 to the Charles Darwin Correspondence Project and in 1998 to the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences.

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