Professor Michael Plank Professor Michael Plank

Michael Plank is a Professor in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Canterbury, a Fellow of the New Zealand Mathematical Society, and an Investigator at Te Pūnaha Matatini, New Zealand's Centre of Research Excellence in Complex Systems and Data Analytics. He obtained a BSc(Hons) in Mathematics from the University of Bristol in 2000 and a PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Leeds in 2003. He started at the University of Canterbury as a postdoctoral research fellow in 2004 and joined the permanent academic staff in 2006.

Professor Plank's research interests are in mathematical biology and mathematical epidemiology. His work aims to use mathematical techniques and modelling to help answer research questions in application areas and to support policymaking. His research is interdisciplinary and he has worked in a range of application areas including ecological and social networks, population dynamics, infectious diseases, marine ecosystems and fisheries, collective cell behaviour, and intracellular dynamics. His work draws on numerous fields in applied mathematics and statistics including stochastic processes, integro and partial differential equations, dynamical systems, spatial moments, statistical modelling, and parameter inference.

Since early 2020, Professor Plank has led a group of researchers commissioned by the New Zealand Government to deliver mathematical modelling of Covid-19 in support of the pandemic response. He was a member of the team that won the 2020 Prime Minister's Science Prize for this work. He was also awarded the 2021 E.O. Tuck Medal by ANZIAM for outstanding research and distinguished service to the field of Applied Mathematics.

His research has funded been funded by industry and government and by grants from the Marsden Fund and Australian Research Council. Professor Plank has served in various governance and editorial roles. He has been President of the New Zealand Branch of ANZIAM and a member of the University of Canterbury's Academic Board. He is an Editorial Board member for Applied Mathematical Modelling and the ANZIAM Journal. He has served as a panellist for the Marsden Fund and Performance-Based Research Fund and has represented ANZIAM at the International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.


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Potential postgraduate and Honours students

I am happy to supervise Honours, Masters and PhD students doing projects in a range of areas, for example:

  • Mathematical epidemiology with a focus on pandemic preparedness and response.
  • Developing mathematical and statistical tools for situational awareness and decision support.
  • Random walks and stochastic models of interacting populations.
  • Methods for parameter inference and fitting models to real world data.
If you are interested in doing a project in any of these areas please contact me.

Michael Plank, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Canterbury, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
Tel: +64 3 3692462