From renewable energy to industry 4.0, medical breakthroughs to efficient transport, the world is facing critical economic, environmental and societal challenges which will rely on ground-breaking research to solve.

This year, the Smith Institute’s annual TakeAIM competition once again received a multitude of compelling entries, each articulating the mathematical research striving to make a pertinent difference to the matters that will affect us all. With first-prize winners given the opportunity to present their work to leading companies, TakeAIM provides a valuable opportunity for undergraduates and postdoctoral students of the mathematical sciences to showcase their research and its applications on the industrial stage.

The 2019 TakeaAIM Award’s Ceremony held at 170 Queen’s Gate, Imperial College London.

The next generation of talent

This year’s competition saw an exceptionally high standard of submissions and as a result, first (as well as second) prize was jointly awarded to Sarah K. Brown and Enrico Gavagnin from the Universities of Nottingham and Bath respectively (more below). Competition sponsors; Dyson, EPSRC, Mondelez, NAG, NATS and TUI as well as representatives from UK universities were in the audience, eager to understand the discoveries of both winners and the wider impact of their work.

Sarah K. Brown

Sarah is a PhD student in mathematical medicine and seeks to promote public understanding and the wider engagement of society in mathematics. Her current area of research focuses on airway remodelling in severe asthma patients and the development of models that could be used to find targets for new treatment therapies. Asthma UK state that, ‘around 200,000 people in the UK have severe asthma, this is a debilitating form of the condition that doesn’t respond to usual treatments and can cause people to be in and out of hospital’.

Sarah K Brown from the University of Nottingham

In response, Sarah’s work involves the application of mathematical modelling in combination with experiments on human cells in order to develop multiscale models. These will simulate changes in both the structure and biomechanics of airway smooth muscle tissue following an asthma attack. Read her full entry.

Enrico Gavagnin

Enrico obtained his PhD in mathematical biology shortly after the 2019 TakeAIM Awards Ceremony and is particularly interested in biological phenomena, namely multicellular development and ant colonies, which he considers ‘the most incredible living system’.

Enrico Gavagnin, joint first prize winner from the University of Bath

With the focus of his current research being the development of mathematical models for cell migration and collective behaviour, his aim is to better understand aggressive cancers, such as melanoma, and improve current treatments. Read his entry in full.

With almost 16,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed each year in England and Wales, Enrico’s research – which he will continue as a Research Associate at the University of Bristol – offers the hope of a more advanced understanding and treatment of the disease.

10 years of TakeAIM

Enabled by generous sponsorship, TakeAIM’s goal is to highlight the crucial role mathematics plays in solving real-world problems and provide further opportunities to the students who undertake this pioneering work.

With previous winning entries detailing innovations in energy storage, image restoration, energy networks, landmine detection and much more, TakeAIM 2020 will mark a decade of exceptional alumni and we’re very much looking forward to seeing the research that this landmark year of the competition brings!

“I really enjoyed participating in this competition and would like to thank the Smith Institute for providing an important platform for early stage researchers, like myself, to articulate the use of our mathematical research!”.

Sarah K. Brown
TakeAIM 2019, joint first prize winner

Want to know more about TakeAIM? Find out more, including all previous winning entries, on the competition page.