ESGI 138

The 2018 UK edition of the European Study Group with Industry (ESGI) will be hosted by the Bath Institute for Mathematical Innovation at the University of Bath in collaboration with the Department of Engineering Mathematics at the University of Bristol. The event will take place from 16th to 20th July 2018.

Take part in what promises to be an exciting week-long event bringing mathematicians and industrialists together to work side by side to solve real and important industrial problems.

> Email me when registration opens

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Second Agri-Food Study Group with Industry

The Second Agri-Food Study Group with Industry will be held at ICMS in Edinburgh on the 21st – 23rd February 2018.
If you wish to take part, please register here.
Clean Growth, and the AI & the Data Economy are two of the four Industry Strategy Grand Challenges underpinning much of HMGs investment into R&D over the next few years. Additionally, we can expect  funding in Transforming Food Production to be made available as an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, this Study Group is a key way of establishing relationships between communities, refining industry challenges and preparing the mathematical science community for this upcoming opportunity.
The three problems being presented are:
Promar International – Identifying Drivers for Profitability in Cattle
We have a huge amount of data throughout the dairy farm supply chain. We have used this data predominantly for benchmarking, including the impact of different farming systems and geographical areas on profitability. We have done some analysis to identify drivers for profitability using physical and financial parameters but more recently management practices and attitudinal aspects of the farmers. Based on the datasets above, we would like to explore drivers and KPI’s to predict profitability (performance is often masked by the management ability of the farmer and other factors). Another potential area for exploration is in linking genetic and financial data on an individual cow basis. 
Phytoponics – Aeration Optimisation
Phytoponics Hydrosac is a hydroponic growing system module that holds a body of water to grow plants in. At the base of the module is an integrated aerator, which consists of a perforated strip of material that receives external air input from an air compressor, and emits bubbles to the body of water such that oxygenation of the water occurs. The scope of this challenge is to develop a mathematical model of the aeration system of the Hydrosac, including volumetric flow rate, input pressures, aerator strip material design parameters and costs therein, such that Phytoponics can use this model to improve the aeration of the Hydrosac design and select supporting ancillary air supply services or system parameters.
Syngenta – Scheduling Seed Production
Syngenta are one of the largest suppliers of agricultural seed globally. A key requirement of the business is the adequate supply of seeds to meet varied customer demands throughout the world. Scheduling seed production is complex and unpredictable. Crops must be planted one year in advance of when the resultant crop of seeds will be sold. A recurring problem is that of spatiotemporal variation of yield and the management of the associated risk of over / under production of seeds, which is extremely costly, and can severely damage the business. Syngenta have developed an interface for internal planning of production, which is purely based on historical yield. Syngenta would like to rationalise planting strategies which are informed by a judicious choice of objective function, which best optimises the business performance (which could include growth, profitability) and is robust against potential risks (natural, market risks etc). Can a more sophisticated approach “beat” the experts and / or strategies based on historical data simulations?

More information on these problems can be found on the Study Group website. 

The KTN staff and members of their Industrial Mathematics group worked with the University of Bath’s Institute for Mathematical Innovation (IMI) to organise a study group. The Agri-Food Study Group brought together over 40 mathematicians, engineers and computer scientists to work on challenges presented by representatives from the Agri-Food sector over the course of three days. The Study Group which ran from 16-18 January 2017, and was hosted by the IMI and sponsored by Innovate UK.

Three agri-food challenges were presented at the event, namely helping farmers to optimise the value of the pigs they sell (Innovent Technology) improving cocoa yields for the chocolate industry (Mondelez International), and refining the design of a hydroponics system for crop production (Phytoponics Ltd). Further details about these challenges are detailed here.

These challenges required varied expertise from across the mathematical sciences, and it was fascinating to see the three agri-food company representatives working closely with the maths experts over three full days to try and solve the problems presented.

On behalf of Dr. Matt Butchers, Knowledge Transfer Manager, Industrial Mathematics 
Knowledge Transfer Network

SIMAI 2018 Congress in ROME


The next congress of the Italian Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics will take place in Rome, Italy, from the 2nd to the 6th of July 2018. It is an important occasion for Industrial and Applied Mathematician from Italy and beyond to exchange ideas and share their research. Among the plenary speakers who have already accepted to participate we have Stanley Osher, Michele Piana, Angelo Iollo, Riccardo Adami.

Call for submission of minisymposia is open now on the conference web site

Organizing Committee

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SFI Starting Investigator Research Grant


Science Foundation Ireland is seeking applications for the Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG)

SIRG  aims to support excellent postdoctoral researchers and others who are yet to hold an independent research post in taking the initial steps towards a fully independent research career.

The SIRG award provides an opportunity for excellent early-career-stage investigators to carry out their own research project in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The award provides a contribution to the salary for the Starting Investigator (SI) and also provides funding for a postgraduate student, who will be primarily supervised by the SI. The SI will work with an associated mentor, who will provide the necessary support and infrastructure for the project to take place. €425,000 direct costs over a period of four years and covers the salary of the SI and the stipend and fees of a postgraduate student.

One of SFI’s Agenda 2020…

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ESGI 142 – Mathematical Solutions in Business and Industry

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We are pleased to announce MI-NET’s support, in partnership with Kaunas University of Technology, to the ESGI 142 “Mathematical Mathematical Solutions in Business and Industry”.

The goal of this week-long meeting is to promote cooperation between business and science in order to solve business problems by using mathematical methods. This workshop will bring together researchers and business representatives for solving real-world problems that modern companies face.

If your company faces a challenge for which you are looking a solution, if you look forward to run the company more effectively or are seeking for a brand new ideas please tell us about that by filling in the online registration form and provide your problem for scientists. For more information please click here.

Scientists who want to participate will have to register until 15th of March 2018 by filling in the online form. Scientists and doctoral students are invited to register for the event if they work in areas of mathematics and informatics. For more information please click here.


If you would like to learn more about European Study Groups with Industry or find out about future meetings please visit the ECMI website.


PhD and Post-doctoral positions in Austria


The Special Research Program (SFB) “Tomography Across the Scales” is offering 6 PhD and 6 Post-doctoral positions in applied mathematics, bio-physics and medical physics, in Austria.

The program starts on 1 March 2018 and involves the University of Vienna, the Vienna University of Technology, the Medical University of Vienna, the University of Linz, the Johann Radon Institute of Computational and Applied Mathematics and the Medical University of Innsbruck.

For more information and applications, please visit “Tomography Across the Scales”

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Knowledge Exchange Community Meeting – Industrial Maths in Action


19-20 September 2017, ICMS Edinburgh

Following on from the successful 2015 KE Community Meeting, this meeting is designed for both academic mathematicians, knowledge exchange professionals and industrial scientists and will focus on how to do industrial maths with a particular emphasis on how to develop contacts between academia and industry and how to ensure that mathematical results are carried through to implementation.

There will be three main topics covered in this meeting.

Update on Knowledge Exchange in the Mathematical Sciences

The review of knowledge exchange in the mathematical sciences, chaired by Council for Science and Technology member, Professor Philip Bond, has been launched with support from EPSRC and Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN).  There will be an update on the activity and an opportunity for the community to feed comments and suggestions.

Industry Maths Interaction

This session will cover an update on activity since the last KE Meeting…

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New Vice-President of ECMI appointed


natasaThe ECMI Council has appointed Nataša Krejić as new Vice-President of ECMI. She will take up her duties on 1 January 2018. Nataša Krejić is a full professor at the Department of Mathematics and Informatics, Faculty of Sciences, University of Novi Sad, Serbia, and has been a member of the ECMI Council since 2012. Nataša Krejić is one of the coordinators (with Alessandra Michelleti) of the new ECMI SIG on Mathematics for Big Data and Working Group leader in the COST TD1409 Action Mathematics for Industry Network (MI-NET).

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Ink Bubble Formation at the ICMS Modelling Camp in Edinburgh

By Michael Pegg


The problem I (Mike) worked on involved investigating the creation and growth of bubbles inside an ink printer cartridge. The problem was brought by Dr William Lee from the University of Portsmouth who also acted as our group leader. Our international group had members from as far afield as Pakistan and academic backgrounds ranging from fluid mechanics to differential geometry.

downloadWe were presented with a new kind of ink cartridge which uses high frequency vibrations to create small ink droplets. The cartridge consists of 3 components. An ink reservoir with a depth of 1 centimetres. A plate at the bottom of the reservoir vibrating ultrasonically at 10,000 hertz. A conical nozzle embedded in the centre of the vibrating plate with a maximum diameter of 50 micrometers, aminimum diameter of 5 micrometers and a thickness of 70 micrometers. The ink cartridge operates normally for some time, after which it fails. When the cartridges are cut open bubbles of around 0.2 millimetres are found inside the reservoir. We were tasked with investigating how the bubbles form with the overall goal to prevent bubble formation.

Our group leader offered three potential bubble formation mechanisms. Free surface recoil where asan ink droplet is shed the thread of liquid joining it to the bulk of ink recoils rapidly, like a snapped elastic band, which pulls bubbles inside the nozzle. Bubbles shedding off a gas pocket which forms inside the nozzle. Air-ink interface migrating to the reservoir side of the nozzle which sheds large bubbles. We added an additional potential mechanism in cavitation, where a vapour cavity is formed along the plate because of the vibrations.

download (1)By the end of the week we had investigated a mechanism by which small bubbles, such as those formed by recoil, can grow and move up the pressure gradient. We compared the pressure due to plate oscillation relative to hydrostatic and atmospheric pressure and found it to be dominant. From this we focused on the effects of oscillations and looked into rectified diffusion, a mechanism by which bubbles in an oscillating pressure field can grow beyond their equilibrium radius. We also looked into the Bjerknes force, which is a lift force generated because of an oscillating bubble. The oscillations of a bubble were modelled numerically using the Rayleigh-Plesset equation. Finally we suggested a few novel ideas which could alleviate the bubble problem, such as adding a small amount of porous media on the walls of the cartridge to allow air to drain without letting ink through.

The workshop provided insight into the world of industrial mathematics and a rare opportunity to work with peers on a joint problem. It was an excellent week which has pushed me towards searching for a job in mathematical modelling and provided valuable experience. I would like to thank Dawn Wasley and everyone else involved in the organisation of this event.

Michael Pegg is a Research Student and associate tutor in the School of Mathematics at the University of East Anglia.