ACEMS DIRECTOR, PROFESSOR PETER TAYLOR

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The idea of trying to tailor the sort of research we do in mathematics and statistics to the environment of a Centre of Excellence isn’t easy, but it’s really important. We don’t run a `big-lab model' where the lab head comes in and tells everyone exactly what to do and they all go away and do it, reporting back at the team meeting every week. Mathematical and statistical research requires close collaboration throughout. What we have to do in ACEMS is develop the right sort of model to take advantage of the opportunities for collaboration, scaling up of activities and learning from our colleagues that the Centre provides, without stifling the way research in the mathematical sciences normally happens.

One big advantage of having a Centre of Excellence is that it creates opportunities for early-career researchers to obtain post-doctoral positions. It also brings together a critical mass of students, who can all learn from each other and the members of the Centre more widely.

The ARC keeps asking us to make sure that we’re more than just a bunch of people with our own projects. We have to build a reason for the Centre. We have to show things happen because of the Centre which would not have happened if we got our own individual grants.  The goal is that cross collaboration is fostered, research gets done, and ideas get generated that wouldn’t happen if we were only sitting in our own universities.  I’m already starting to see signs of that.

Overall, I’m very excited about the opportunity to make a contribution to building our Centre: we are still in the initial stages and the goal is that we will all be proud of the outcome.