Home > COVID-19 Pandemic Update from AMSI Director Professor Tim Brown


Dear AMSI Stakeholders and Friends,

Thanks so much for all your good wishes.  I regret that I have not yet been able to reply to these individually given the pressure of the many changes at AMSI caused by COVID-19 (as everywhere!).

Fortunately, I have been fit enough to work throughout and I want to say a huge public thank-you to the AMSI Executive and the Board for their wonderful support and encouragement in this time of personal and professional challenge.  Adelle Howse as Chair of the AMSI Board has played the crucial role leading the Board and giving me daily support, guidance and encouragement to face the challenges as best as I can.

The good news is that I received a phone call and subsequent letter this morning from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services confirming that I met their criteria to end isolation.  Of course, I will continue to be in contact with my medical advisors should there be a need and will carefully practice the recommendations of the government more generally.

There is another person to whom I want to say a special thank-you.  During their illness, my close contact has worked tirelessly and wisely on the project that brought them to AMSI.  This is to the great benefit of mathematical sciences in Australia.  As I said to this person repeatedly, I consider myself lucky to have contracted the virus early whilst medical facilities in Australia have capacity to deal with people diagnosed as COVID-19 positive.

Please all stay safe – I just hope that my experience of the infectiousness of the virus can add a tiny bit to the public awareness.

Thanks again,



In the changed world that we face AMSI operations are continuing as normal, albeit online rather than face-to-face. Staff are successfully working from home across all our programs.

Last night I was confirmed as positive with COVID-19 having had close contact with someone at AMSI’s Parkville offices last Tuesday. The person was subsequently diagnosed as positive.

At that time, the person I had contact with displayed no symptoms. We did not touch and remained 1 to 1.5 metres apart for the duration of our 90 minute meeting. It is important for as many people as possible to know how infectious this disease is.

Fortunately, my symptoms so far have been mild, and I’m fit for work. I remain focused on delivering AMSI’s mission and plans. The key to this is our AMSI staff and their welfare remains a primary concern to me as operations continue as normal but with changed methodologies.

I’m very confident that together the strong, powerful and focused AMSI team can get through this well and that we will seize any opportunity we have to assist Australia with all the health, social and economic challenges that face us.

Kind regards,



UPDATE 23 March 2020

Vice Chancellor Duncan Maskell’s Statement on second confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) case

Please note that further to this statement, access to AMSI Building 161 has been restored however staff normally domiciled in this building continue to work remotely until further notice.


STATEMENT 19 March 2020

Dear AMSI members, friends and stakeholders,

Please be reassured in these difficult times that AMSI and our team are committed to sustaining business continuity and maintaining our mission.

The dispersed nature of our business relationships and delivery combined with the significant IT capability of the University of Melbourne enables us to continue in as close to a ‘business as usual’ manner as possible with revised work practices.

In accordance with evolving University of Melbourne policy and procedures (based on Chief Medical Officer advice) our office [Building 161] at the Parkville campus is closed until further notice.  AMSI staff continue operating at dispersed locations — often from at home.  There are also travel restrictions in place in accordance with this policy.

During this period AMSI team members remain contactable via email and mobile phone, and in most instances office phones will divert seamlessly to remote locations.  Zoom video conferencing is also available enabling ‘face-to-face’ contact to continue electronically.

We are also working through education delivery, PhD internship and business relationship management issues with a view to minimising disruption and providing policy clarity.

AMSI will issue periodic updates on our response to this situation via our website amsi.org.au and our social media channels.

The mathematical sciences have a great part to play in managing and resolving this challenge to humankind.

I thank you for your understanding and flexibility regarding this evolving situation and assure you that AMSI will continue to adapt and function effectively throughout this period.