Professor Daniela Kühn, the Mason Chair in Mathematics at the University of Birmingham has recently been awarded a €1.8m research grant to study extremal combinatorics, a field of mathematics focused on the structure of finite objects.

Professor Daniela Kühn, together with co-investigator Professor Deryk Osthus, received the funding as part of the ERC (European Research Council) Advanced Grant programme. The full title of their project is Extremal Combinatorics: existence, counting and typical structure.

Professor Paul Flavell, Head of the School of Mathematics at Birmingham, said: "This is an extremely exceptional achievement. Indeed there were only 9 Advanced grants awarded in mathematics throughout Europe this year. Daniela's is the only one going to the UK."

In this project, Professors Kühn and Osthus will consider questions concerning existence, counting and typical structure with a focus on inter-related topics involving combinatorial designs, decompositions, Latin squares as well as matchings in graphs and hypergraphs. The project themes have close connections to statistical physics, probability, algebra and theoretical computer science.

The ERC's mission is to encourage the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding and to support investigator-driven frontier research across all fields, on the basis of scientific excellence'. The ERC Advanced Grant scheme is designed for `established, leading principal investigators who want long-term funding to pursue a ground-breaking, high-risk project'.