Fostering links between mathematicians and industry

The Mathematics for Industry Network (MI-NET) comprising members from 30 countries, will stimulate greater interaction between mathematicians and industrialists across Europe.

Funded by the EU through its Horizon 2020 COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) programme, MI-NET will give financial support and help facilitate a pan-European programme of industrial mathematics activities.

These include problem-solving workshops with industry, training events for younger researchers, industrial secondments, and research visits.

Using mathematics to solve industrial problems

Dr Joanna Jordan is leading the project. Based at the University of Bath, she is Manager of the University’s new Bath Institute for Mathematical Innovation, due to be officially launched on Wednesday 28 October.

She explained: “Mathematics can be used to solve a really diverse set of industrial problems that don’t at first appear to be maths problems.

“For example, using mathematics to model nuclear reactors can help increase their safety, estimating exposure to pollutants can help inform air pollution standards, and making better use of data can help increase the accuracy of weather forecasts.

“Maths can also be used to improve health services, for example, increasing the speed and efficiency of clinical trials and in the development of a decision tool for cleft lip surgery."

Sharing best practice

Dr Jordan added: “Initiatives to foster collaborations between mathematicians and industry are already well established in the UK, with activities such as consultancy, student industry placements, joint funding applications and problem-solving workshops where companies and mathematicians are brought together to brainstorm solutions to a particular industry problem.

"MI-NET provides the perfect platform to share best practice, promoting collaboration in, and the benefits of, industrial mathematics across Europe, particularly in countries that don’t have these initiatives already in place or the funds available to run these events.

“By supporting industry workshops, training weeks, and research visits, we have a real opportunity to both increase the number of problems solved for industry and inspire the next generation of industrial mathematicians."

The first MI-NET meeting will be held at the University of Bath on 27 October, linking with the launch of the Bath Institute for Mathematical Innovation on 28 October. The new Institute will work with a broad variety of industrial and academic partners, providing a framework for developing innovative ways of interpreting and understanding data.