European Research Council awards Giles Gardam a Starting Grant
The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded Prof. Dr. Giles Gardam an “ERC Starting Grant” providing funding of 1.2 million euros over the next five years to support his research project “Satisfiability and group rings” (SATURN) in the Mathematical Institute at the University of Münster. The topic is in the field of geometric group theory and contributes to fundamental mathematical research. Among the most prestigious awards of their kind in Europe, the ERC’s research grants are awarded based on the scientific excellence of the applicants and the proposed projects. This year, the European Research Council awarded 408 Starting Grants to scientists from 26 countries.
“It's a huge honour to have been selected in such a thorough and competitive international process. I'm overjoyed!” Giles Gardam says. Last year, he caused a great stir in international circles when he succeeded in disproving one of the three so-called Kaplansky conjectures. These are three mathematical problems – unsolved for some time – relating to group rings of torsion-free groups. The ERC Starting Grant will enable him to continue working on this topic. “My disproof of the Kaplansky unit conjecture has thrown up new mathematical questions which I would like to explore,” Giles Gardam explains. “Together with my group I’ll be working on developing our understanding of the unit conjecture, its counterexamples, and group properties that are connected to it, but we will also be taking a close look at the other conjectures.”
Giles Gardam, born in Australia in 1990, specialises in geometric group theory. In 2019, he began a position as a postdoc in the topology group in Münster. Then in 2022, he was appointed professor after being successful in the Emmy Noether Programme of the German Research Foundation (DFG). He contributes to the Cluster of Excellence “Mathematics Münster” and the Collaborative Research Centre 1442 “Geometry: Deformations and Rigidity”. After graduating from the University of Sydney, he completed his doctorate at the University of Oxford. He then worked at the Technion in Israel and participated in a trimester programme at the Hausdorff Research Institute for Mathematics (HIM) in Bonn.
The ERC Starting Grants provide financial support for young, innovative researchers who want to build up their own, independent research group. The ERC’s other funding streams include the ERC Consolidator Grant and the ERC Advanced Grant. Numerous researchers from the University of Münster are recipients of European Research Council grants.