Department of Mathematical Sciences

SAMBa’s first Integrative Think Tank a great success

Mon Feb 09 16:55:00 GMT 2015

A think tank sub groupDuring the last week of January, 48 PhD students, academics and industrialists gathered at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution for the first SAMBa Integrative Think Tank (ITT).

ITTs are intensive, week-long events which formulate mathematical problems in collaboration with external partners leading to both short- and long-term collaborative projects.  Students also receive practical training in the art of working with industry and helping non-mathematicians to describe their problems in mathematical terms.

BT and DNV GL attended the first ITT and presented an overview of their problems to the other participants. Academics, students and people from industry then worked in groups throughout the rest of the week to describe and formulate these problems mathematically.

Not only was this a great experience for the 13 students who attended, it has also led to tangible outcomes, including three potential PhD projects, which will be co-supervised by industry partners, and a number of smaller projects.

The event was deemed a great success and, despite the hard work required, the atmosphere was fantastic.

Kirsten Williams, a first year SAMBa student said: "I feel like I've really gained an insight into working between academics and industry and the journey from early ideas to maths formulation." This was supported by Steve Cassidy from BT who said: "This provided a very good (and rare) experience for students to be exposed to and grapple with industrial questions. They responded very impressively."

Participants at ITT1 included visitors from the University of São Paulo at São Carlos who are planning to run their own event in July, supported by representatives from SAMBa. This initiative has been partially funded from the University's International Research Funding Scheme.

Attendees of the SAMBa ITTThe next ITT takes place in June, with AMEC and EDF and work is already underway to make sure it builds on the success of ITT1.

Rob Scheichl (Department of Mathematical Sciences) said: "ITT1 was a fantastic joint effort from a group of people to genuinely further the understanding of some problems of real industrial and societal relevance. I’m looking forward to seeing how the concept develops for ITT2." 

SAMBa Centre Manager Susie Douglas said: “The ITT was a real showcase of what SAMBa offers to students, academia and industry and we are really proud of what we achieved. It was a great team effort and we are looking forward to another successful event in June.”