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Professor Catherine Hobbs appointed Chair of the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research

Professor Catherine Hobbs, the new Chair of the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research

16 February 2023

The University of Bristol is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Catherine Hobbs as the new Chair of the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research (HIMR) and Professor of Mathematics and Mathematics Education.

Since its founding in 2005 as a partnership between the University and Government Communications Headquarters, the Heilbronn Institute has grown into a national centre of excellence supporting a broad range of mathematics research, with facilities in London and Manchester as well as Bristol.

Professor Hobbs will lead the institute's external research activities, which includes over 40 postdoctoral fellows and over 40 PhD students based at over 15 universities across the UK, as well as an extensive programme of conferences, workshops, summer schools and visitors.  

She will also be responsible for sustaining and enhancing HIMR’s profile as an internationally leading research institute.

Professor Hobbs has a distinguished record of leadership in her previous roles across the UK mathematics community. She is currently Academic Dean in the Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computing at Coventry University.

Previously, she served as Associate Dean Research and Enterprise, Faculty of Environment and Technology (2018-22) and Head of Department, Engineering Design and Mathematics (2010-18) at the University of the West of England.

Professor Hobbs is Vice President and member of the Board of Trustees of the London Mathematical Society (LMS) and Honorary Education Secretary and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) - two of the UK's principal learned societies for mathematics.

She is a member of the Executive Committee of the new national Academy of Mathematical Sciences and has served as Chair of the national network of Heads of Departments of Mathematical Sciences. Professor Hobbs was also a member of the first cohort of Heilbronn Visiting Research Fellows, so it's hoped her return will be inspiring to current and future Heilbronn Fellows.

As Chair of the Heilbronn Institute, Professor Hobbs will succeed Professor Geoffrey Grimmett FRS. Alongside this role, she will take up the position of Professor of Mathematics and Mathematics Education in the School of Mathematics, where she will promote and enrich new teaching and learning initiatives.  She will take up her new roles from 1 September.

Professor Hobbs said: "I am delighted to be given the opportunity to lead HIMR. The Institute has become a vital part of the infrastructure of UK mathematics and I look forward to working closely with the mathematics community to build upon the excellence already achieved at HIMR, which in turn adds value to mathematics in the UK."

Professor Judith Squires, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost at the University of Bristol, said: "I am delighted with Professor Hobbs’ appointment. Catherine brings a wealth of experience to this important role, and I am confident that she will be an outstanding Chair of the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research (HIMR). She will also be a wonderful addition to the School of Mathematics as Professor of Mathematics and Mathematics Education. I look forward to welcoming her."

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