An $8 million grant has been awarded to a Cambridge mathematician to support his study of mathematical models relevant to research in the life sciences, engineering and nanotechnology.

Peter Markowich, Professor of Applied Mathematics in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, was awarded the funding by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

The award was made through KAUST's global research partnership (GRP), which operated for the first time this year. The partnership aims to bring together researchers from across the globe to work on challenging scientific and technological problems which have particular relevance to Saudi Arabia and the region.

KAUST’s funding will help further Professor Markowich's work with the Applied Partial Differential Equations Research Group (APDE), allowing it to take on five new postdoctoral researchers and to expand into a new centre.

Professor Markowich said: "This award is a great honour and it gives a wonderful opportunity to build up my research group and strengthen the field of analysis and numerics of applied partial differential equations at DAMTP."

"I came to Cambridge University not even a year ago, so there is no way I could imagine a better start! It is also very exciting to be part of the endeavour of creating a new high level research institution."

"The biggest part of the funding will go into hiring postdoctoral researchers at DAMTP, working on differential equation models in such diverse areas as quantum physics and biophysical processes."

Their research project, *Applied and Computational Differential Equations in Life Sciences, Nanoscience and Engineering*, will focus on applications of differential equations, those equations which have functions as solutions, and involve derivatives, or rates of change, of the solution, often in intricate nonlinear ways.

Such equations can be formulated to model situations that arise in a number of disciplines. Whilst physics and engineering yield numerous classical examples, they can also be applied in more unexpected situations. Some of the work currently taking place at APDE involves their use in restoring medieval wall frescoes, for example.

KAUST investigator awards will fund research for five years and have also been made in support of a range of fields other than applied mathematics, including work on immunisation, water desalination, renewable and sustainable energy sources and environmentally friendly construction materials.

Each of the awardees, known as KAUST Investigators, will conduct research at their own institutions and, partly, on the KAUST campus, which will open in September 2009. The university is being built as an international, graduate-level research institute, and intends to become a major contributor to global research.

This article is adapted from material from the University of Cambridge.