Our current President and Founder, Dr Bruce Smith CBE took a job at Bellcom Inc, USA, where he was employed as part of the team which selected the landing sites for the first manned moon mission. Experiencing first-hand how mathematics was integral to the future of space exploration, Bruce was inspired to apply mathematical techniques to tackle the challenges faced by governments and industry.
Having returned to the UK in 1968 and after working for a spell at Decca Radar, Bruce set up Smith Associates, which later became Smith System Engineering.
Bruce formed the Smith Institute for Industrial Mathematics and System Engineering as a division of Smith System Engineering Ltd. It was officially opened on 3rd November by Rt Hon William Waldegrave MP.
Bruce sold Smith System Engineering Ltd without the Smith Institute for Industrial Mathematics and System Engineering. The Smith Institute was set up as a separate independent company, with Lincoln Wallen, CTO of Dreamworks Animation (2012-2017), as our first director.
Dr Robert Leese was appointed as Director to lead the bid for the Faraday Partnership for Industrial Mathematics.
The Institute secured the Faraday Partnership grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Its total value was £2.2 million, which the Institute used to create a new national network, with 12 post-doctoral research projects as its initial focus.
The Faraday Partnerships evolved into 15 Knowledge Transfer Networks (KTNs). The Institute won the contract to develop the strategy and deliver the Industrial Mathematics KTN, funded by the Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK). Its purpose was to harness the power of mathematics to meet industry challenges by facilitating collaborations between academia and industry.
In parallel with developing the KTN and with an eye to a long-term future, the Institute started to take on private sector contracts. Over the following years we cultivated opportunities to expand the role of mathematics as a contributor to the growing knowledge-based economy.
Ofcom approached us to verify the implementation of a ground-breaking auction for radio spectrum. More than a decade on, we have worked on over 20 auctions with governments in 10 countries, all of which have completed successfully.
The Institute’s turnover reached £1 million for the first time.
The Institute first launched the TakeAIM: Articulating the Influence of Mathematics, a competition for university students to demonstrate the impact of their research to a wider academic and commercial audience.
The Institute’s turnover reached £2 million.
The Smith Institute marked 21 years of business by hosting a celebratory event at the London Transport Museum. Guest speakers included Sir Mark Walport and Sasha Javid, formerly of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) and, winner of the Franz Edelman Award for his work on the US Broadcast Incentive Auction.
The Institute won the Operational Research Society’s President’s Medal for our work on the FCC’s ground-breaking Broadcast Incentive Auction.
In recognition for our pioneering work in spectrum auctions worldwide, the Smith Institute received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the category of International Trade.