The University of Wollongong (UOW) has commenced a global search for talent to fill the role of Australia’s first philanthropically-funded Chair in Mathematics for more than 100 years.
A long standing relationship between the University and alumnus, Tim Berry, co-founder of a successful international finance company and Director of the Tibra Foundation*, culminated in a $1.25 million philanthropic gift to establish this prestigious new position. Known as the Tibra Foundation Chair in Mathematical Sciences, it seeks to focus on and advance the mathematical sciences.
With maths and data at the core of the digital world we inhabit, this role will further UOW’s and the Tibra Foundation’s joint strategic objective to invest in our region’s economic prosperity. It will help create a talent pool of maths, science and data focused graduates, broadening individual opportunity and advancing our society.
UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings CBE says he is deeply grateful to the Tibra Foundation for their commitment and foresight in fostering this significant initiative.
“The establishment of the Professorial Chair will drive this shared vision forward by raising the profile of mathematics through research, outreach and by creating greater opportunities for participation and careers in this important field, particularly in regional areas.
“Founded by UOW alumni, with a commitment to the Illawarra, Tibra Capital’s success and involvement with UOW is an exemplar of re-investing in higher education to address society’s critical challenges,” Professor Wellings says.
Tibra Foundation Director and Trustee Tim Berry pictured with
The historic investment in the Professorial Chair has the potential to raise UOW’s profile as an international leader in the mathematical sciences and expand its capacity to undertake outreach activities and engagement with schools and future students.
The Tibra Foundation says they hope the position will make a long-term impact in Australia and the region.
“As a quantitative organisation we have a passion for the mathematical sciences and we are excited to help transform the region into a centre of excellence and stimulate the advancement of world-class mathematics.
“As members of the finance industry, and particularly the quant trading space, our success has been made possible by our ability to utilise mathematics as a tool to achieve a better understanding of the world around us. We live and breathe mathematics in our work, yet we operate in a country where mathematics continues to be under-recognised, despite its rapidly growing importance. We want that to change.
“By investing in education, we hope to promote the growth of a world-leading mathematical sciences ecosystem and help Australia attract and retain talent. We want to inspire future generations to seek a career in mathematics and the economic benefits it brings,” the Tibra Foundation says.
The establishment of this role will have significant flow-on effects; not only will it attract exceptional academic and scholarly talent to UOW but, as opportunities grow in the field, it is predicted to increase participation rates in maths in the Illawarra’s secondary schools.
Having worked with Tibra for more than 10 years throughout their philanthropic engagement with UOW, Director of Advancement Monique Harper-Richardson, says this contribution is truly inspirational, particularly in an unpredictable world.
“This level of passion and generosity is extraordinary. Tibra, from their earliest beginnings, immediately understood the power of philanthropy, they understood the importance of giving back and creating support for the next generation, so the new announcement of the Chair is an extension of that relationship and that vision around the important role that maths plays in society,” Harper-Richardson says.
“We’re delighted some of the committee members of the Foundation have actually been previous recipients of Tibra’s scholarships, so it’s that virtuous circle of giving – of alumni giving back and strengthening their institution.
“We’re enormously grateful to the Tibra Foundation. Philanthropy has the power to create transformative change. It is due to Director and Trustee Tim Berry’s commitment and vision and the passion and dedication of Arman Schwarz and the Tibra Foundation Committee, that this Professorial Chair has been made possible,” Harper-Richardson says.
With a focus on big data, data science and statistics, the gift also complements the University’s strategic plan and its bespoke research capabilities with The National Institute for Applied Statistics Research Australia (NIASRA) and UOW’s other centres of excellence.
The Tibra Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Tibra Capital, a finance company specialising in quantitative trading. It has played an active role supporting UOW students for more than 10 years, contributing more than $1 million in scholarships across the disciplines of maths and finance, offering Work Integrated Learning placements and supporting corporate scholarships. With an additional pledge of almost $77,000 over five years, the Foundation will continue to fund several UOW scholarships and prizes.