Latest AustMS WIMSIG Awardees

Congratulations to the following awardees of the inaugural Maryam Mirzakhani Award and the April 2020 round (Round 12) of the Cheryl E. Praeger Travel Awards and Anne Penfold Street Awards. The Praeger Awards are for travel funding (open to AustMS members of any gender) and the Street Awards are for caring expenses incurred whilst travelling (open to all members of the AustMS).

Praeger Award

  • Jessica Crawshaw (Melbourne) has been awarded a Praeger Award to attend the 2020 International Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (ICTAM) in Milan (Italy), and the joint European Society for Mathematical and Theoretical Biology and Society for Mathematical Biology (ESMTB-SMB) conference in Heidelberg, Germany.
  • Ellena Moskovsky (Monash) has been awarded a Praeger Award to attend the 2020 School and Workshop in Topological Recursion and a research visit at the Institut de physique théorique (IPhT, Paris-Saclay). 
  • Eloise Tredenick (ANU) has been awarded a Praeger Award for the Forum “Math-for-Industry” 2019Mathematics for the Primary Industries and the Environment, Massey University, Albany Campus, New Zealand.

Street Award

  • Zsuzsanna Dancso (Sydney) has been awarded a Street Award for a two-month research trip at Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) to participate in a program on Higher Categories and Categorification,  a visit at the Alfred Renyi Institute of Mathematics in Budapest, a seminar talk at the University of California, Davis, and two outreach workshops at the Berkeley Math Circles – a highly acclaimed enrichment program for high school students.
  • Antony Licata (ANU) has been awarded a Street Award for a research visit at Max Planck Institute in Bonn, Germany.

Maryam Mirzakhani Award

  • Hoa Thi Bui  (Federation University Australia)

BUI Thi Hoa is a full time international PhD student in mathematics, originally from Vietnam. She commenced her PhD program in the Centre for Informatics and Applied Optimisation at Federation University Australia in December 2016. Hoa holds an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Stipend. She obtained her undergraduate degree in mathematics from Ho Chi Minh City University of Education, where she specialised in optimisation, and produced a research thesis, which brought her several awards. Hoa’s PhD project is in the area of variational analysis and optimisation and targets development of tools for the analysis of stability of solutions of optimisation problems and convergence analysis of computational algorithms. She has published 7 journal papers, 3 of which in the highly ranked Journal of Optimization Theory and Applications. She has become a valuable member of the Australian optimisation community.

A big thank-you to the Selection Committee, comprised of Marcy Robertson (Melbourne), Florica-Corina Cîrstea (Sydney), and Xiaoping Lu (Wollongong), for their work in assessing the applications.

Round 13 of the travel awards is now open and closes on October 1, 2020.

If you are receiving this newsletter and would like to join AustMS you can do so here. Membership of AustMS is free for students at Australian universities. The Praeger and Street Awards require membership of AustMS for at least the 12 months prior to submitting an application. If you do join AustMS, remember to select ‘yes’ to being a member of WIMSIG too.

Message from the WIMSIG Chair – Jessica Purcell

In the last two months, the way we work and interact has changed dramatically. There has been a massive effort to port our research, administrative tasks, and especially our teaching to online platforms, all in a very short timeframe. WIMSIG commends those who have been involved in this effort.

Covid-19 and Caregivers: The transition to take all university work online has happened on top of directives to keep children home from schools and to protect the elderly. This has disproportionately affected carers among us. My contacts have shared with me amusing videos of online lectures interrupted by young children, but also stories of serious challenges. Many report working late hours into the night to prepare for classes while their children sleep. Many have had to abandon research, including collaborative projects, just to keep their teaching afloat. Traditionally, much of caring responsibility has fallen on women, and it continues to affect women’s careers. As such, we see this as a very important WIMSIG issue, while noting that this is not only a problem for women – I am hearing similar stories from male and female colleagues with young children. Regardless of your gender, to caregivers at this time, WIMSIG sees you, and we acknowledge your unique challenges and difficulties.

To others: We need to ensure, men and women, that the exceptional challenges being met today are rewarded tomorrow. We cannot afford to lose the mathematical contributions of today’s caregivers to restrictive promotion and evaluation machines that do not take into account difficult times and unique situations. We very strongly recommend that all AustMS members act with flexibility and compassion, and stand up for their colleagues and do what they can to ease their burdens. Please contact WIMSIG if you have suggestions on how we can help.

Covid-19 and Diversity in Online Seminars: Many mathematics seminars have now moved online, allowing speakers from across the globe to address Australians. WIMSIG encourages everyone to think about diversity while organising online seminars. Are you inviting a range of speakers, both male and female? Senior and junior? Australian and international? Hearing from a diverse group of speakers helps students and ECRs to see themselves as part of a broad community – which is also important for senior academic staff! Please take the opportunity to showcase diversity that is not as easy to find in somewhat isolated Australian universities.

  • Covid-19 and Postponements:
    • Women in Mathematics Day events across Australia were originally scheduled to happen on or around May 12 to honour the birthday of late mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani. These have now either moved online or been postponed. Please watch for announcements of delayed events. We still look forward to celebrating the achievements of women in maths – just at a later time.
    • The WIMSIG Conference has also been postponed by exactly one year. Please update your calendars. The conference will now be held Wednesday September 20 through Friday October 1, 2021, still at Monash University. We still have an excellent line up of plenary speakers, special sessions, an early career workshop, and industry panellists. Thanks to our members for stepping up to organise what will be an outstanding event – now in 2021.

Australian Academy of Science Fellows

Congratulations to Professor Robyn Owens (UWA) and Aurore Delaigle (Melbourne), who have been elected fellows of the Australian Academy of Science. Professor Owens’ research is on computational vision – her work on feature detection and image recognition has been applied in a wide variety of applications. Professor Delaigle’s research is non-parametric statistics and functional data analysis.

European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad

Congratulations to the Australian team who placed 12th in the European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad. These four talented high school girls achieved Australia’s best result ever at the competition.


Congratulations to Sarah Belet, a HDR student in maths at Monash University, on winning Victoria’s FameLab competition, for her presentation on ‘maths, medicine, and mosquito sex’.

Women in Mathematics Day – 12th May

The 12th of May is the birthday of Maryam Mirzikhani and Florence Nightingale, two trailblazing women in the mathematical sciences. Check out over 70 video greetings from some amazing women in maths and stats around Australia (and beyond), courtesy of ACEMS and the WIMSIG, to celebrate Women in Maths Day 2020 in this YouTube video.


WoMBaT 2020

Started in 2016, the Workshop on Metric Bounds and Transversality (WoMBaT) is one of the key research events for optimisation and nonsmooth analysis community in Australia. The fifth WoMBaT workshop will be held on Geelong Campus of Deakin University on 2-4 December, 2020.


The University of Melbourne

Curtin University


The impact of COVID-19 working arrangements:

Have you read an interesting article? Have some news? Have an opportunity available?

Please send items to WIMSIG-news@women.austms.org.au.

Note: Newsletters are published on the 1st day of each month (or soon after). The deadline for submitted items is the 27th day of each month.

To keep in touch in between newsletters, follow @wimsigAU on Twitter.