27th British Combinatorial Conference

The 27th British Combinatorial Conference will be held from 29th July to 2nd August 2019 organised by the School of Mathematics at the University of Birmingham. For further information, please contact the organisers.
A number of institutional logos
The Mthematics British Combinatorial Conference delegates in a lecture theatre

Plenary speakers

There will be nine invited plenary lectures, delivered by the following speakers:


Through the generous support of the Heilbronn Institute there will be six invited mini-symposia covering the following topical areas of research in Combinatorics:

Additive Combinatorics:

Organised by Julia Wolf.

Designs and Latin Squares:

Organised by Peter Cameron.

Extremal Combinatorics:

Organised by Oleg Pikhurko.

Graph Colouring:

Organised by Zdeněk Dvořák.

Probabilistic Combinatorics:

Organised by David Conlon.

Useful Information & Programme

Registration will take place in the Mason Lounge in the Arts Building (R16) at the following times:

  • Monday 29 July -- 08:15-10:45, 13:25-13:55, 14:55-15:25
  • Tuesday 30 July -- 08:15-09:00, 10:00-10:30
  • Wednesday 31 July -- 10:00-10:30

Most plenary talks will take place at Vaughan Jeffreys Lecture Theatre in the Education Building (R19). Minisymposia and Contributed talks will take place in the Arts Building (R16).

Google map with some locations maps

Important Information: 

Registration (open until 8 July)

Conference Fees
  Early Bird (before 6th June 2019) Standard (after 6th June 2019)
 Normal  £225  £275
 Reduced   £160  £210

Reduced registration fee is available for both students and retired participants.

The conference dinner and the excursion is not included in the conference fee and can be purchased separately for £65. However, the registration includes all lunches, coffee breaks and the welcome reception, as well as a copy of  "Surveys in Combinatorics 2019".

Please note that for child protection reasons we are only able to accept registration for the conference for people who are at least 18 years old.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: In recent years, scams have become common relating to academic conferences (e.g. emails/phone-calls from people offering to book travel/accommodation etc. relating to a conference). Please note, no one involved in the conference will ever email or call participants asking for bank details or other sensitive data. The only transactions made (i.e. for registration) will be made through the University of Birmingham's online shop. 

Registration for this conference has now closed.

Contributed talks

All participants were encouraged to submit an abstract on a topic related to the conference and give a 20-minute presentation. The deadline for submitting talks has now passed.

Support for participants

Through the partnerships with the London Mathematical Society and the Clay Mathematics Institute, we offered a significant amount of support available for participants:

  • CMI Travel Support: for students and early career applicants within five years of their PhD graduation, not holding a tenured or tenure-track position, to support travel and accommodation costs. Note that awardees are expected to give talks. Please ensure you submit an abstract along with the application.
  • LMS UK-based PhD students’ Travel Support: for UK-based Research students to support travel costs. 
  • LMS Scheme 5 countries Travel Support: for participants working in developing countries (see list) to support travel costs.

The deadline for applying for support has now passed, and successful applicants have been notified.


There are a number of options on campus. 

  • Single En-Suite Accommodation at Vale Village: The rate is £45 per night, including breakfast. This rate is only guaranteed before 6th June. This can be booked during registration via the UoB online shop. More information about the accommodation.
  • Edgbaston Park and Hotel: Special conference rate including breakfast: £90 single, £99 double. To book accommodation you must either send an email to Lucy Woods or Matthew Arnott at reservations@edgbastonparkhotel.com or call Lucy at +44 (0) 121 414 9780 or Matthew at +44 (0) 121 414 9779. 
  • Lucas House: Special conference rate including breakfast: £84 single, £91.50 double. To book accommodation you must either send an email to Lucy Woods or Matthew Arnott at reservations@edgbastonparkhotel.com or call Lucy at +44 (0) 121 414 9780 or Matthew at +44 (0) 121 414 9779. 

There are plenty of hotels at the city centre which is 10 min away by train or 20 min by bus. As a recommended inexpensive hotel, we suggest the Ibis Budget (Birmingham centre).


The conference takes place in the Arts Building in the Edgbaston campus of the University of Birmingham, building R16 on the Campus map.

By Air

From Birmingham International Airport you can take a taxi directly to the University Conference Park on Edgbaston Park Road, which costs about 35-40 GBP. A significantly cheaper (and still reasonably fast) alternative is to take the free Air-Rail link from the Airport terminal building to Birmingham International railway station. From there, take a train to Birmingham New Street and change for a train to University station as described below. 

From London Heathrow Airport you can take a direct National Express Coach to Birmingham Coach station. For more information on arriving in Birmingham via coach see below. Alternatively you can travel by the following routes (but please note carefully that references to prices and tickets refer to off-peak tickets only, which have some restrictions on travel times):

  1. An off-peak return ticket from London Heathrow to University is £99.70 with regular departures on the following route: Heathrow Express from Heathrow to London Paddington, London Underground from London Paddington to London Euston, Virgin Trains from London Euston to Birmingham New Street, West Midlands Trains from Birmingham New Street to University. Total journey time is usually a bit less than three hours.
  2. To avoid London, take the rail-air bus link to Reading (£28 return) then use an off-peak return ticket from Reading to Birmingham (£58.80) on the following route: Crosscountry Trains from Reading to Birmingham New Street, West Midlands Railway from Birmingham New Street to University. The bus takes about 45 minutes and runs every 20 minutes, and then the train is a little under two hours and runs every 30 minutes.
Both of these routes can be achieved for lower ticket prices by breaking the journey into segments and/or buying "advance tickets" (which are only valid on one particular train - if you miss it then you have to buy a new ticket). For route 2 above, this means buying off-peak returns from Reading to Banbury (£26.00) and Banbury to University (£20.80), a combination which is perfectly valid on any journey from Reading to University for which the train stops at Banbury (which all Reading-Birmingham trains do). For route 1 there are more options (and combinations of options) - here are some notes:
  •  It's much cheaper, though slower, to get from London Heathrow to London Euston by avoiding Heathrow Express and just using London Underground and/or TfL rail.
  • From London Euston to Birmingham New Street (and back) there are usually many low-priced advance tickets, so look for these. There are also trains run by London Northwestern which are slower (2 hours rather than 1 hour 20) but which have significantly cheaper tickets only valid on these services.
  • If you are arriving by plane you may not want to commit to a particular train for the outward journey (in case of delays etc.) If so, one good option is to book through the Virgin Trains website; only this site gives you the option to combine a `half-fare' flexible outward ticket with an advance (fixed-time) return ticket on the London Euston-Birmingham New Street segment.

By Train

The main Birmingham station is Birmingham New Street, where there are several trains each connecting Birmingham to London, the Midlands, the North, Scotland and Wales. Alternatively, there are trains connecting London Marylebone to Birmingham Moor Street (which is 5 minutes walk from Birmingham New Street). For timetables and ticket reservations, please visit the National Rail Enquiries website.

From Birmingham New Street one needs to take another train to arrive at University station (for the University of Birmingham). There are several trains an hour on this route and the journey takes around 7 minutes. Most of the trains that stop at University are the West Midlands Railway trains to Bromsgrove or Redditch (they usually depart from platform 12B at the Birmingham New Street Station).

The Arts Building is a 10 minutes walk from University station. See the Campus map for more details.

By Coach

The Birmingham Coach station is located in the city centre. There are regular services to central London and London airports. The coach station is 15 minutes walk from Birmingham New Street railway station.

By Bus

Numbers 61 and 63, X20 and X21 travel from the city centre to the Edgbaston campus.

By Taxi

A taxi from the Birmingham International Airport to the University costs about 35-40 GBP and a taxi from the city centre (e.g. from Birmingham New Street station) around 10-15 GBP. 

Social Events

The ICA Welcome Reception on Monday

On Monday evening we will have a welcome reception at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts (2-minute walk from the venue) where everyone is invited to attend. This event has been kindly supported by the Institute of Combinatorics and its Applications. The Barber Institute holds an impressive collection that include prime examples of the work of many of the greatest artists such as Botticelli, Rubens, Van Dyck, Turner, Manet, Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Magritte. Guided tours will be available during the reception.

Concert on Tuesday

Following the tradition, on Tuesday evening there will be a concert organised by BCC musicians. The concert will take place in the Main Lecture Theatre of the Aston Webb Building (R7 in the campus map). Bring your instrument to the conference; we will provide a piano. Those interested in taking part are asked to email David Penman (dbpenman@essex.ac.uk) - we are not selective!

Excursion to the Black Country Living Museum on Wednesday

On Wednesday afternoon an excursion is organised to the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley. The museum recreates an industrial town in the Black Country in the nineteenth century. Transportation will be provided by the organisers. Please remember to purchase the "Dinner&Excursion" ticket, if you want to join us.

Conference dinner on Thursday

On Thursday evening we will hold a conference dinner at the Edgbaston Park Hotel (5-minute walk from the venue). We can accommodate dietary requirements. Please remember to purchase the "Dinner&Excursion" ticket, if you want to attend.

Information for attendees with childcare responsibilities

The University of Birmingham operates three nurseries for pre-school children, and it may be possible to arrange a place for your child in one of these nurseries for the week of the conference, although we cannot guarantee availability. Please contact the organisers for further information.

The London Mathematical Society believes that all parents working in mathematics should be able to attend conferences and research meetings without being hindered by childcare costs and thereby administers a Childcare Supplementary Grant Scheme. Further information about this scheme can be found on the LMS website:  http://www.lms.ac.uk/content/childcare-supplementary-grants

Organising Committee

Allan Lo (Birmingham), Richard Mycroft (Birmingham), Guillem Perarnau (Birmingham and UPC) and Andrew Treglown (Birmingham).


The 2019 conference is organised in partnership with the Clay Mathematics Institute, the Heilbronn Institute, Institute of Combinatorics and its Applications and the London Mathematical Society (through a Scheme 1 grant); we thank each of these organisations for their generous involvement and support.