Over the last few decades scientists from various disciplines have started searching for the general theoretical bases of consciousness and answers to related questions such as how can consciousness be unified with physics, what medical, ethical and commercial benefits might theoretical progress bring, and is there a type of mathematical structure with the property of consciousness. This has resulted in several new mathematically formulated theories (or partial theories) of consciousness, many of which are complementary to each other. Whilst these theories are preliminary, advances in computer science are rapidly being made involving ever more parallel systems, often inspired by biological architectures, which highlights the pressing need for a step change in the level of research being undertaken to establish the general theoretical bases of consciousness.
Oxford Mathematics of Consciousness and Applications Network (OMCAN) provides researchers from across the University of Oxford with the opportunity to share their knowledge in this area, participate in relevant seminars and discussions, and find funding in support of collaborative research. The network has received seed funding from the Mathematical Physical and Life Sciences Division of the university. Prof. Kobi Kremnitzer (OMCAN principle investigator), Dr Jonathan Mason (OMCAN network champion)
In 2020 OMCAN won a pump priming grant for a new Centre for Mathematical Approaches to Consciousness at Oxford. We are delighted to have won this support from the Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi) toward establishing the centre. Grant number FQXi-RFP-CPW-2013 from the Foundational Questions Institute and Fetzer Franklin Fund, a donor advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.