European Research Council awards €1.4 million grant to Warwick mathematical research

A pioneering researcher working in mathematical theory at the University of Warwick has received over €1.4 million in funding from the European Research Council.

Dr David Bate who works on geometric measure theory, was one of 436 academics working across Europe selected to receive a share of the €677 million. The ERC funding helps early-career scientists and scholars to build their own teams and conduct research across all disciplines as part of the EU’s Research and Innovation programme, Horizon 2020.

Dr Bate’s project is entitled Structure Theorems for Modern Aspects of Geometric Measure Theory. He has already pioneered new techniques in the field of geometric measure theory and the funding will allow him to set up and lead a research group and expand on his initial work.

He said: “The ERC funding means I can continue to develop my ideas in the field of geometric measure theory which is an area of mathematics that studies geometric properties of non-smooth curves and surfaces. The really exciting prospect is applying my findings to seemingly unrelated problems in new areas of analysis.

“It is thrilling to have received such a substantial grant for research into pure mathematics. My research is for the benefit and advancement of mathematics – there isn’t really a real world application at the moment. But that said, the cryptography that protects us when we pay for items online and access our bank accounts is based on a mathematical discovery from 300 years ago which up until recently had no application. So you never know!”

Commenting on the award, Professor Pam Thomas, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Warwick, said: “I am delighted that the European Research Council is again supporting cutting-edge research here at the University of Warwick. Mathematics is the bedrock of a huge number of modern world applications so funding pure mathematical research such as this will surely reap benefits for future generations. I look forward to seeing this project progress.”

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “With European Research Council grants, the EU is leveraging the talent and curiosity of some of the best young researchers in Europe. Their ideas are set to break fresh ground and open new ways to deal with pressing challenges in the areas of health, energy and digital technologies, as well as many other fields. Our ambition to effectively tackle current and future crises depends on our strong will to continuously and increasingly support top research at the frontiers of our knowledge.”

President of the European Research Council (ERC), Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, commented: “The present health crisis showed that despite spectacular progress in research over the past decades, there still remain plenty of unsolved scientific mysteries, as well as lessons to be learnt from the past. Therefore, the best strategy to tackle it is to enable some of the brightest minds to pursue their most innovative ideas, in order to create opportunities for serendipitous discoveries. This is what the European Research Council is for. It’s clear that, if Europe is to be competitive globally, it needs to give excellent prospects to the next generation of researchers as these ERC Starting Grants do, and to invest much more in top blue sky research.”

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