The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded Giles Gardam an "ERC Starting Grant". With the help of this EU funding of 1.2 million euros over the next five years, the scientist plans to carry out his research project "Satisfiability and group rings" (SATURN) at the Mathematical Institute at the University of Münster. The topic comes from the field of geometric group theory and contributes to the fundamental research in mathematics. The ERC awards funding on the basis of the scientific excellence of the applicants and the proposed project. The research grant is among the most prestigious awards of its kind in Europe. 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. With the ERC Starting Grant he will continue his work 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 1990 in Australia, specialises in geometric group theory. Since 2019, he has worked as a postdoc in the topology group in Münster. In 2022, he was successful in the Emmy Noether Programme of the German Research Foundation (DFG) and was appointed professor. He contributes to the Cluster of Excellence "Mathematics Münster" and the Collaborative Research Centre 1442 "Geometry: Deformations and Rigidity". He graduated from the University of Sydney. After completing his doctorate at the University of Oxford, he 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 Consolidator Grant and the ERC Advanced Grant are two more of the ERC’s funding lines. At the University of Münster there are numerous researchers who have received one of these grants from the European Research Council.