July 2020

Congratulations Del Rajan!

Del recently completed all of the academic and administrative requirements for his PhD. Del worked under the supervision of Matt Visser on his thesis titled "Quantum Entanglements in Time". The School can't wait to hear of his future achievements.

Congratulations soon-to-be Dr Del!

Congratulation Meenu Jose!

Meenu has recently completed her defense and submission of her thesis titled "Well Quasi-Ordering and Axiomisation of Matroids". Meenu worked alongside Dillon and Geoff on her thesis. Meenu has always been an active and supportive member of the SMS community, outreach and events. The School wishes her all the best in her future endeavours and we hope she stays in touch!

Congratulations soon-to-be Dr Meenu!

Postgraduate Seminar Series

The SMS postgraduate seminar series is now underway, this is a seminar series for postgraduates by postgraduates. Share your research, academic interests or even get some feedback on an upcoming conference talk you are doing. Upcoming talks are advertised to your student email address or you can view them on the event calendar. These talks will be taking place fortnightly in CO431 from 3:10pm-4pm. If you would like to present , you will also find the organisers contact information on this page.

Last month, Jordan Barrett presented "Ramsey theory of semigroups". This talk explored the results in Ramsey theory and the structure of certain semigroups (including in the Hales-Jewett theorem, the Graham-Rothschild theorem, Hindman's theorem and others). Jordan's talk was recorded and is now available online - you can check it out here.

This month Malcolm Jones presented his talk "An algebraic model in public health: the groupoids of bubbles". Since their inception groupoids have provided a fruitful framework in a variety of fields, including fundamental work by J. Renault in operator algebras in the 80s. Groupoids have even appeared in epidemiology as recently as 2014 as models of cognitive processes in biology. This talk reviewed the elementary theory of groupoids, discussed a widely applicable groupoid model of interactions in populations. Recordings will be made available in future.

GRE Subject Test

A small group of students will be sitting the upcoming GRE Subject Test, on Saturday 17th October. This is a requirement for admission to most graduate programs in the United States. Most applications close in December/January, so this is the last chance to sit the test before then.

The only test centre in NZ is in Auckland, so we have to make a special application to ETS (the testing body) to run a special administration of the test at VUW. We have successfully applied for this in the past. So, if you are interested in sitting the test on that date, please contact Jordan Barrett ASAP.. The application needs to go to ETS very soon.

Of course, the whole application cycle is a bit uncertain due to COVID-19, but GRE scores are good for five years, so you can sit it now and apply in later years.

Logic Group Seminars

If you are interested in logic and what is happening in our school in terms of logic research, then you will be glad to know that the logic group is getting up and running again! Jordan Barrett has created a mailing list for this group. If you are interested in receiving updates about the logic seminar and logic-related news - then get in touch, we can add you to the list.

The logic seminare series has also restarted. The seminars will be running weekly on Mondays from 1:10pm-2pm in CO431. Noam Greenberg recently completed a talk on his recent work in introreducible sets. Over the next couple of weeks a series introducing forcing will be presented in these slots. All are invited so feel free to pop along.


Recently both ECS and SMS have received reports of cyberbullying taking place on various social media pages. Many of these pages displaying this kind of behaviour are student run. However, as those on the page are behaving under the University name and as students affiliated with the University - they are still subject to the Student Code of Conduct.

If you are experiencing or witness to cyberbullying behaviour, we encourage you to grab some screenshots and pass them on to a staff member you are comfortable disclosing this to, send them to the office or one of the support services below so we can take appropriate action to both support those affected and prevent this behaviour in future.

If you need some support or are impacted by cyberbullying, you can approach these services for support:
  • Mauri Ora and Student Counselling
  • Student Interest and Conflict Resolution
  • The Rainbow and Inclusion team
  • Chaplain support services
  • Te Ropu Awhina, Te Putahi Atawhai, Te Herenga Waka Marae
  • Victoria International
  • Plus others.
Everyone deserves and has the right to feel safe on campus. We encourage everyone to participate and build the inclusive community on campus.


Open Day is taking place on the 21st August and we need some volunteers to help out with the booth. This consists of hanging out for an hour or two and chatting to prospective students about your experience on campus and answering any questions they might have. The day runs from 8:30am-3pm approx. If you are interested, please get in touch with Caitlin.

If you have any ideas on activities for the booth, feel free to suggest them too!

Funding & Scholarships

Pacific Fund 2020 - Second round open

The Fund for economic, social, cultural and scientific cooperation in the Pacific (also known as the Pacific Fund) uis a tool for regional cooperation for France in the Pacific. It was created in 1985 and is funded by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. New Zealand partners are invited to submit their applications for projects contributing to the regional insertion of French collectivities: New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna.

To be eligible for the fund, projects must fall under atleast one of the following categories:
  • Fight against climate change and risk managemenet for natural disasters
  • Economic and inductrial projects (feasibility study, training actions, etc.)
  • Health security and food security (fighting against endemic diseases, fishery managements, etc.)
Project submitted by rhe New Zealand partner must involve a partner in at least one of the aforementioned countries.

The deadline for applications is the 6th Sepetember 2020.

Apply here.

HFSP Funding - Postdoctoral Fellowships

HFSP postdoctoral fellowships encourage early career scientists to broaden their research skills by moving into new areas of study while working in a new country. The HFSP fellowship programme supports proposals for frontier, potentially transformative research in the life sciences. Applications for high-risk projects are particularly encourages. The projects should be interdisciplinary in nature and should challenge existing paradigms by using novel approached and techniques. Scientifically, they should address an important problem or a barrier to progress in the field.

Cross-Disciplinary Fellowships are available for applicants with a PhD from outside the life sciences (e.g. physicis, chemistry, mathematics, engineering and computer sciences).

Applications are now open. The deadline to initiate an application is the 13th August 2020. All applications need to be submitted by the 27th August 2020.

More information is available on the website.

Cawthron Institute Emerging Scientist Scholarship

Cawthron Institute is an independent research and consulting institute with a world-class reputation. Their Laboratory Services Group is renowned for its commitment to analytical excellence and customer satisfaction, and we want the best people in our team. This year they are offering a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships. More information on the projects can be found on their webpage. Individual project listings on CareerHub have been provided at the bottom of each project summary.

There are additional projects you can apply for, but the two listed below have a statistical & data management lense to them.

Additional PhD scholarship opportunities with this organisation can be found here.

Improving the reliability of hatchery production of triploid Pacific oysters

The project will take place over 10 weeks in Nelson.

The objective of this project is to compare the respective performances of triploid larvae produced using both the standard in-house chemical induction, and the tetraploid males crossed with diploid females. The student will carry out a series of laboratory-based experiments to collect valuable data on the fitness of larvae obtained from the two methods.
Student requirements: The work will include all tasks relevant to the hatchery rearing of oyster including experimental set-up, system maintenance, water quality monitoring, microalgal production, husbandry, and sampling. This will require the student to be: highly organised, responsible, caring, rigorous and have a good attention to detail. The student must be willing to work flexible hours.
Other skills include: microscopy, image analysis, data management and statistical analysis. This project will suit a candidate that has a passion for larval development and physiology, hatchery production, and the sustainable development of aquaculture.

If you are interested, you can apply on CareerHub.

Learning to listen to shellfish

The Cawthron Shellfish Physiology team has developed techniques for acquiring simple digital biosignals from shellfish, including shell opening behaviour, heart-beat and respiration. These signals are instant indicators of health and performance, and are a means to generate audience engagement in the subtle and sensitive biology of shellfish.
Opportunities exist to further develop the application of these biosignals, dependent upon the interests of the student.

For example:
•Biology: Develop a broader understanding of the responses of shellfish to their environment
•Technology: Explore methods to present the electrical signals
•Outreach: Develop material suitable for engaging a non-scientific public

There is also opportunity to include personal Māori cultural understanding to complement the range of techniques already developed for acquiring biosignals from shellfish.
Practical work will be based at the Cawthron Aquaculture Park (15km north of Nelson), working alongside the shellfish team. The student will receive hands-on training and access to biosensor equipment and shellfish environmental manipulation facilities. The student will produce a report (or equivalent) describing their journey and the outcomes of their research; they will be strongly encouraged to demonstrate the effectiveness of their outreach by presenting findings to Cawthron staff, the wider Nelson community, shellfish farmers and the media.

The CareerHub listing can be found here.

GCSB Women in STEM Scholarship

The Government Communications Security Bureau is a public service department. Their work contributes to New Zealands national security by providing information assurance and cyber security to the New Zealand Government and critical infrastructure. This year they are offering three $10 000 scholarships to female students in second year through to masters in STEM. This includes statistics, mathematics and data science. For more information, visit the CareerHub listing here.

Applications close 1 October 2020.

Job Opportunities

Tutor Wanted

A student is looking for a tutor to support them with MATH161 study. This position will be paid and hours ar negotiable. If you are interested, please email Ben.

The Women of Influence Virtual Speaker Series

This Series debuted in 2019 to 5 sold out audiences. Following this success the series has moved online to allow more people to attend and engage with Kiwi women making their communities a better place. There are three seminars taking place in the series with a wide range of successful kiwi women. Right from advocates, to designers, evironmentalists, businesswomen and broadcasters - you can hear about their stories and how they have found their place in growing the wellbeing of their respective communities.

Feel free to register online here.