Cheryl E. Praeger Visiting Research Fellowship

The Cheryl E. Praeger Visiting Research Fellowship funds visits to The University of Western Australia (UWA) by mathematicians who are early in their careers in the mathematical disciplines of algebra and combinatorics.

The fund supporting the Fellowship was established with an initial donation from Cheryl Praeger comprising of prize monies from her awards of 2009 Western Australian Scientist of the Year, 2012 Office for Learning and Teaching Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, UWA award for highly cited researchers, and other research allocation funds. 


Recipients of the fellowship are expected to participate in education, e.g. via lectures, and to participate in collaborative research with members of the School of Mathematics and Statistics and the Centre for the Mathematics of Symmetry and Computation (CMSC) during a visit of at least two weeks.    

The fellowship, which is awarded annually contributes to accommodation and travel costs of the recipient, and is designed to enhance research collaboration at UWA.

How to apply

Once an an eligible applicant is identified the Selection Panel makes a recommendation to the Head of School.   Following this recommendation a ‘Recommendation to offer visiting appointment’ form is completed along with the appropriate attachments.  

This documentation is approved by the Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics before going to Human Resources for Confirmation of Appointment and Letter of Invitation to be prepared and sent to the successful applicant.

If you are interested in being nominated for the Fellowship please contact a member of the Centre for the Mathematics of Symmetry and Computation (CMSC). 

Recipients of the Cheryl E. Praeger Visiting Research Fellowship
2021: Luke Morgan

Luke Morgan is currently a “Docent” professor at the University of Primorska on the Adriatic coast of Slovenia. He has held this position for almost 2 years, before which he was employed at The University of Western Australia for 6 years. Luke first worked on a Discovery Project of Michael Giudici, before obtaining a prestigious grant from the ARC, a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award.  While at UWA Luke was awarded the VC’s Early Career Investigator Award. Luke is also currently a Partner Investigator on an ARC Discovery Project of Michael Giudici at UWA.

Luke’s research is focussed on the symmetry of mathematical objects called graphs. These objects are used by mathematicians to model networks. Symmetry is both a desirable property in such networks for applications, and is also ubiquitous in the networks that we see in nature. He has used his expertise in the theory of finite simple groups to answer questions about the number of symmetries that networks can have. His work on the generalisations of the Weiss Conjecture was recognised with an invitation to speak at the Conference in honour of Richard Weiss in Karlsruhe, Germany in 2016.

2022: Heiko Dietrich

Heiko Dietrich received his PhD in mathematics from the University of Braunschweig (Germany) in 2009. After postdoc positions at the University of Auckland (New Zealand) and the University of Trento (Italy), he is now an Associate Professor and the Director of Postgraduate Studies in the School of Mathematics at Monash University.

Dietrich’s research is primarily in computational algebra, which is on the cutting-edge of pure algebraic research and its interplay with computational methods. His work spans theoretical and computational aspects of group theory (the “mathematics of symmetry”), Lie theory, and algebraic design theory. Dietrich’s 44 publications include 14 papers in the Journal of Algebra, arguably a leading journal in algebra, and a recent paper in the proceedings of the 2021 FOCS, which is among the most prestigious conferences in theoretical computer science. In addition, he maintains two software packages for the computer algebra system GAP, and he has produced implementations that are distributed within the core of computer algebra system Magma.

Dietrich has been an active participant in CSIRO’s STEM Professionals in Schools Program since 2013. During his outreach activities he aims to communicate the true nature and beauty of mathematics, clarifying misconceptions such as `mathematics is all about manipulating numbers’. For his engagement, he has received a 2019 AMSI Tall Poppy Award (Victoria).

2019: Natalya Maslova

Natalia is an Associate Professor at Ural Federal University and a Leading Researcher at the Krasovskii Institute of Mathematics and Mechanics, Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences. Natalia’s research focusses on group theory and combinatorics. During her time at UWA she worked on two joint mathematical projects that were devoted to computational group theory with Emeritus Professor Cheryl E. Praeger and Professor Stephen Glasby, and with Professor Alice Niemeyer. For more, see this UWA news article.

2020: Jan De Beule

Jan De Beule is a professor at the Free University of Brussels (VUB), Belgium. He completed his PhD at Ghent University in 2004 under the supervision of Prof. Dr Leo Storme, and has held research positions at Ghent University and the VUB since then, apart from a short stint at the Flemish research funding body, FWO. His interests lie in finite geometry and combinatorics, and within these areas, his interests are broad. His PhD work was on blocking sets of projective spaces, and his collaboration with Klaus Metsch saw him delve into the world of finite polar geometry. He has also worked closely with the Hungarian school of finite geometry that emphasises the role of polynomial techniques, and one of his most important results was on a problem related to the MDS Conjecture, with Simeon Ball. Below is a short list of his main achievements:

  • De Beule is a co-author of three packages for the GAP software system: (1) FinInG (with John Bamberg, Philippe Cara, Michel Lavrauw); (2) Forms (with John Bamberg); (3) Digraphs (with Julius Jonušas, James Mitchell, Michael Torpey, Wilf Wilson).

  • De Beule and Metsch showed that the Hermitian variety H(5,4) has no ovoid.

  • Together with Simeon Ball, he has made important contributions to the MDS Conjecture.

He has resolved a weaker version of the “cylinder conjecture” with Demeyer, Mattheus, and Sziklai.

2018: David Roberson

David is originally from the USA, obtaining is undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University, before moving to Waterloo, Canada, to study a PhD under the supervision of Chris Godsil. He is currently a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Technical University, Denmark.

David's main area of research is algebraic graph theory and part of a growing number of mathematicians and scientists investigating the connections between quantum information/computation and combinatorics. In particular, he is one of two authors who introduced the notion of quantum graph homomorphisms 

2017: Rebecca Waldecker

Rebecca is a professor at the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg (Germany). She completed her PhD at Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Germany under the supervision of Helmut Bender, and habilitated at Habilitation at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg in 2014.

Rebecca's research focus is in the area of finite group theory, with a wide range spreading from abstract theory and local methods over applications of the Classification of Finite Simple Groups up to projects in computational group theory. She has received several prizes for her teaching and teaches courses on international summer academies. Her publications include a monograph in the Memoirs of the AMS  where she presents her work on a proof for Glauberman's famous Z*-Theorem with local methods.

2016: Joy Morris

Joy Morris was born in Canada. After completing a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and English at Trent University. She went on to do her PhD in Algebraic Graph Theory at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, under the supervision of Brian Alspach. She graduated in 2000 and has been working at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada since then. She received a University Faculty Award from Canada’s national research agency (NSERC) in 2001, a prestigious grant that supports promising young researchers by reducing their teaching requirements for five years. She was promoted to full Professor in 2015.


Joy has 36 publications that have appeared or been accepted, in journals including the Transactions of the American Math Society. She has been an invited speaker at a number of international conferences in Slovenia, China, and Canada.


Joy's first visit to Perth was in 2010 during a sabbatical. The Cheryl E. Praeger Fellowship allowed her to return to Perth for four weeks that included giving five presentations, participating in the CMSC retreat, attend a conference in New Zealand and a work collaboratively with various CMSC members that will result in two research projects.

2015: Colva Roney-Dougal

Colva is a Professor in Pure Mathematics at the University of St. Andrews, where she is the Director of the Centre for Interdicsiplinary Research in Computational Algebra.  Colva's research centers on group theory, both finite and infinite. She has done considerable work on the development of fast algorithms for finite and infinite groups. As well as her academic work, she has done a great deal of mathematics popularization, including several radio shows with Melvyn Bragg and one with Brian Cox.

During her visit Colva has made substantial progress on two research projects: one with Cheryl Praeger and Stephen Glasby, and another with Luke Morgan. Colva gave a Mathematics & Statistics Colloquium and a Groups and Combinatorics Seminar on the 29 January 2015, as well as beginning research discussions with other members of CMSC including Tomasz Popiel and Eric Swartz.