Information for Problem Presenters

Need a mathematician to help with your medical or biological research? Mathematics in Medicine Study Groups are week-long workshops at which mathematicians brain-storm biomedical problems. They have a strong track record of providing insight into biological and biomedical problems, and also of establishing new multidisciplinary collaborations between theoreticians and life scientists. Previous problems have covered a wide range of Biological Topics, and lead to a number of successful follow-up activities.

Choosing a Suitable Problem

If you are interested in presenting a problem at a Mathematics in Medicine Study Group, then you should get in touch with the organisers of the meeting as early as possible. To find out who to contact see the 'Upcoming Meetings' section of the MMSG Website.

Some problems work better at study groups than others. A good problem will be:

After some initial discussion, potential problem presenters will be asked to submit a brief description of their proposed problem to the organisers of the meeting. The organisers will generally be happy to work with the presenters in order to ensure suitability of the problems. However, it may not be possible to accept every problem submitted, as some may be deemed unsuitable and/or the meeting may be over-subscribed.

Problem Description, Abstract and Presentation

Once a problem has been agreed, problem presenters will need to prepare the final problem description to go on the website and in the booklet issued to participants. The description is usually two or three sides of A4, but can be longer if required. The presenters will also need to prepare a short (couple of paragraphs) abstract summing up the problem.

On the first day of the workshop, the problem presenter will give a presentation on their problem, usually lasting around half-an-hour, with time for questions from the audience. At each meeting, several problems will be presented by different people, and the mathematicians will then divide up to work in groups on the different problems.

If any data or parameter values are required, then these will need to be made available to the participants at some point. To avoid problems at the meeting, arrangements should be discussed with the organisers in advance.

Interaction during the Workshop

A crucial aspect of the MMSG workshops is the interaction between the mathematical modellers and the problem presenters. The modellers will largely be coming at the problems cold, and so are likely to have lots of questions to ask the presenters as they try to understand what is important to consider and what is not.

It is therefore important that the problem presenters are in attendance for all or most of the meeting (which typically lasts four and a half days; from Monday morning to Friday lunchtime). In particular, the presenters must be present for the first day, in order to present the problem and answer any immediate questions when the groups first meet. As for participants, overnight accommodation and meals will usually be provided for presenters free of charge.

Presentation and Final Report

At the end of the workshop, the mathematical modellers will give a short presentation on the progress they have made with each of the problems. Following the meeting the details will be written up as a formal report. The report will be sent to the problem presenter, and also uploaded to the MMSG website.

Follow-up Activities

Following the work done at the meeting, it may be agreed that there is scope for further research to be done on one or more of the problems, involving collaboration between the problem presenter(s) and some of the participants. This may involve writing a paper for publication, applying for funding to continue the work, or running a student project. There may also be funding available from the meeting to pay for a one-day follow-up meeting to discuss possible ways forward.