Professor Geoff Prince has been AMSI’s longest serving Director, taking on the position in 2009. He has been responsible for a transformation of AMSI’s mission that has seen its impact increase dramatically. Under Geoff’s directorship AMSI’s staff has grown four-fold and its membership has grown to 41 university, learned society and government agency members. He was also responsible for encouraging a significant increase in the participation of the members in the governance and decision-making processes of AMSI, giving them a strong voice and a high degree of ownership.
Geoff has united the discipline behind AMSI’s mission and built an enviable reputation for AMSI as the public face of Australian mathematics and as its strongest advocate, evidenced by the attention afforded to it by politicians, the Office of the Chief Scientist, policy makers, philanthropic organisations and the media. He has used the media effectively to bring critical issues concerning mathematical education, teacher capability, mathematical prerequisites for students entering technological disciplines, and the importance of mathematics in national innovation into the public arena.
AMSI’s success has been underpinned by Geoff’s persistent and effective engagement with sitting ministers, parliamentary secretaries and their advisors. He has created lasting and substantial relationships with the OCS and the ARC and is regularly consulted by senior members of both offices.
Geoff has distinguished himself as a thought leader in Australian public science and his influence is directly responsible for:
- The continuing Commonwealth support of AMSI’s remarkably successful research training programs. His custodianship has seen numbers more than double to 500-600 annually and significant broadening of the base of research training in the discipline.
- BHP-Billiton Foundation’s invitation to develop and deliver an ambitious 5 year program to address the issue of girls and women in mathematics was a direct result of AMSI’s leadership in dealing with the notorious problems in mathematical education. The $22 million Choose Maths program, brokered by Geoff with Janine McIntosh, is Australia’s largest corporate investment in the mathematical sciences.
- An authoritative body of policy concerning all aspects of the mathematical sciences pipeline including education, research and industrial engagement. Geoff’s input is sought by governments, peak bodies, the academies, universities and learned societies.
- The AAS Decadal Plan for the Mathematical Sciences 2016-2015 was significantly guided and delivered by Geoff through his membership of the Plan’s Executive along with Peter Hall and Nalini Joshi.
AMSI’s national multisector, multidisciplinary PhD industry research program, AMSI Intern (now APR.Intern), has benefited greatly from Geoff’s vision and leadership. He has also shown great courage, steadfastness and conviction in working through the difficulties that arose in the last year.
An enduring legacy of Geoff’s contribution to AMSI has been the development of an extremely talented and hard-working team of professionals, all of whom are absolutely committed to the execution of AMSI’s strategically grounded Business Plan. The team also strongly embodies AMSI’s commitment to gender diversity.
It would be difficult to imagine a more significant contribution to AMSI than that which has arisen under Geoff’s leadership, he richly merits the Distinguished Service Award.