The Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences (INI) is one of the world’s leading research centres for mathematics research and its applications. Part of the University of Cambridge, it attracts leading mathematics from around the world and runs research programmes on emerging themes in the mathematical sciences. From its inception in 1992, the INI has been devoted to hosting research within the mathematical sciences in the broadest sense of the word, which marks it out from similar institutes in other countries.
Mathematics is a truly global endeavour and breakthrough research demands international collaboration, as well as the cross-pollination of ideas from different people with diverse disciplinary backgrounds. Academic research has shown time and again that the very best, innovative ideas emerge when academics are able to share and discuss their research with people with different approaches, viewpoints, and disciplinary experience.
While our research centres and universities do an incredible amount of successful work to foster this exchange of interdisciplinary approaches within the academic ecosystem, it is more difficult at the very highest levels of mathematics research because providing a hub for knowledge exchange often involves bringing together researchers that are geographically spread across the world.
As a result, bringing the most senior and acclaimed mathematicians together, as well as exposing aspiring future mathematicians to these talented researchers, can be resource-intensive for many universities and academic institutions.
In 2013, the Turner Kirk Trust provided a £250,000 gift to the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences to fund a new Visiting Fellowship Scheme, aimed at bringing the world’s pre-eminent mathematicians to both the Institute and to the UK, including recipients of the many of mathematics’ leading prizes and international awards.
The gift was provided as an endowment to enable the funding of visiting scholars on an ongoing basis.
As well as providing the funding to support the Fellows’ research and travel to Cambridge, the Fellowship encouraged the academics to also visit and lecture at other universities and research establishments across the UK, ensuring that as many people were exposed to these leading academics as possible.
The Turner-Kirk Fellowship led to some of the world’s most acclaimed mathematicians and researchers coming to the Institute and Cambridge, including from institutions in Australia, North America, Europe, and other parts of the UK.
The Fellowship enabled these world-class researchers to build new international relationships within the academic ecosystem in Cambridge, hopefully leading to new academic collaborations that will result in innovative original research for decades into the future.
The Fellowship scheme also meant that students, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, were exposed to world-leading mathematicians that they would not have been able to access otherwise, providing younger researchers with both new role models, as well as new ideas that might challenge and inspire new lines of research.
The new Fellowship also further established the Institute’s leading global role, and by extension Cambridge and the UK, as the pre-eminent hub for international mathematical research, hopefully attracting researchers to the Institute for years to come.
Turner-Kirk Fellows, 2013-2015
Professor Thomas Curtis
Professor Jef Huisman
Professor Alan McKane
Professor Frank Rohwer
Dr Stephen Woodcock
Professor Rama Cont
Professor Fernando Vega-Redondo
Professor Phil Dybvig
Professor Andreea Minca Cornell
Professor Gui-Qiang Chen
Professor Charles Elliott
Professor John King
Professor Juan Luis Vázquez Suárez
“This fellowship has helped us deliver on our mission of becoming a world-famous place for research in the mathematical sciences with a reputation for efficient management and a warm welcome for visitors.”
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The University of Cambridge and the Turner Kirk Trust have launched the Kirk Global Challenge, a competition designed to jump-start economic growth in the developing world.
A new global fellowship programme at the Cambridge Conservation Initiative to protect biodiversity and foster interdisciplinary collaboration.
A new student-led research programme to develop new unmanned aerial vehicles to fight back against climate change and poaching, funded by the Trust.
A visiting fellowship programme hosted at the Isaac Newton Institute to support underrepresented groups within higher mathematical research.