Ranking our research

Alina Ostafe mathematician

#1 ranked in Australia

UNSW frequently ranks among the top universities worldwide for mathematics and statistics, and enjoys a long history of number one rankings nationally. 

UNSW ranked equal first in Australia for mathematics in the 2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), and first in Australia in the 2020, 2019, 2018, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011 ARWU rankings.

The 20212020, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016 US News Global Universities Rankings placed us at number one in Australia for mathematics. 

In the QS World University Rankings, we ranked first in Australia for mathematics in 2021, second in Australia in 2020 and 2019, and from 2015-2017 we ranked in the top 4 in Australia.

The 2021, 2020 and 2019 NTU Rankings for mathematics also positioned us as first in the country. 

UNSW Mathematics and Statistics topped the list for the fields of Algebra and Computational Mathematics in The Australian’s Research Magazine in 2021. 

We ranked number one in the country (together with UNSW Computer Science) in the 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016 CWTS Leiden Rankings.

Up to 2020, we are the only Australian university to feature in the top 100 in the world for Mathematics in all five of the ARWU, the US News Global Universities, the CWTS Leiden, NTU, and the QS World University Rankings. 

In 2020, mathematics was one of the 12 research subjects at UNSW that were ranked first nationally by ARWU.

In 2021, we ranked third in the country, and in the global top 25, for Oceanography in the ARWU rankings.

#1 funded in Australia

UNSW Mathematics and Statistics leads nationally in cumulative Discovery Project funding in the mathematical sciences over the past decade, compared to other schools. In addition, it has led the funding awarded nationally in the mathematical sciences in four of the past ten Discovery Project rounds, more than any other. 

Additionally, since 2014, the School hosts a node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers (ACEMS). Previously, the School hosted a node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematics and Statistics of Complex Systems (MASCOS). The award of a Centre of Excellence is a prestigious recognition of research excellence.

In addition to DP funding in mathematics and statistics, School researchers have been very successful in attracting DP funding in other research areas (particularly in oceanography and marine science) or through other schemes. The School is increasingly successful with ARC Linkage Grants, which fund projects between university and industry partners. Overall, the School attracted $4,482,118 in research income in 2020. As well as being proud of the quality of our research, we are proud of the breadth of our research into mathematics and statistics.  

Excellence in Research Australia

In the most recent (2018) Australian Research Council Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) exercise, UNSW received a perfect score (5/5) in the Mathematical Sciences and our four main areas of research focus: Pure Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Statistics and Oceanography.

Most prolific

We produced the highest number of academic papers published by any Australian school of mathematics between 2004 and 2014 (Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators).

Highly cited

For the decade 2004-14, UNSW ranked second nationally amongst mathematics schools in both total citations and citations per paper in mathematics (Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators).

Professor David Warton featured on the Highly Cited Researchers list for three years in a row (2021, 2020, 2019). 

Measures of Esteem

Individual researchers in the School have received the highest distinctions through Fellowships of Academies, funded research fellowships and research medals. We are the only School in the UNSW Faculty of Science to host two Australian Research Council Laureate Fellows: Professors Trevor McDougall FRS (awarded 2015) and Fedor Sukochev FAA (awarded 2017). 


Our academic staff frequently win prestigious awards for their research. Below we have listed some highlights, but you can find more in our News section

  • Trevor McDougall received the 2022 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science for his ground-breaking research which has transformed all oceanographic practice and the field of ocean thermodynamics.
  • Fedor Sukochev was announced as the top researcher in the field of Mathematical Analysis in The Australian’s Research Magazine (2021), which publishes an annual list of the top researchers and best research institutions across 250 individual fields of research nationally. 
  • Several staff members have won the Australian Academy of Science Christopher Heyde Medal, an early-career award recognising outstanding research in the mathematical sciences by researchers up to 10 years post-PhD:
    Vera Roshchina (2021), Zdravko Botev (2018), Catherine Greenhill (2015), David Warton (2014) and Josef Dick (2012). 
  • Jan Zika won the 2020 Australian Academy of Science Anton Hales Medal for his contributions to understanding the vital role of the ocean in the global climate system.
  • David Harvey won the 2019 Australian Mathematical Society Medal for his work in the fields of algorithmic number theory and computer algebra. 
  • Guoyin Li was announced as a field leader in Computational Optimisation in The Australian’s Research Magazine (2019), which publishes an annual list of the top researchers and best research institutions across 250 individual fields of research nationally. UNSW Sydney was named as the "leading institution" nationally for Computational Mathematics. 
  • Zdravko Botev and colleagues were awarded the 2019 Gavin Brown Prize, recognising “an outstanding single article, monograph or book consisting of original research in Pure Mathematics”, published within the decade preceding the year of the award.
  • Guoyin Li and Vaithilingam Jeyakumar won the 2019 Journal of Global Optimization Best Paper Award for their paper, Extended trust-region problems with one or two balls: exact copositive and Lagrangian relaxations, co-written with Immanuel M. Bomze. 
  • Guoyin Li won the ICCM Best Paper Award for his paper, Global Convergence of Splitting Methods for Nonconvex Composite Optimization, published in the SIAM Journal on Optimization, and co-authored with Ting Kei Pong.
  • Trevor McDougall was awarded the 2018 Companion of the Order of Australia, “For eminent service to science, and to education, particularly in the area of ocean thermodynamics, as an academic, and researcher, to furthering the understanding of climate science, and as a mentor of young scientists.”
  • David Hunt was awarded the 2018 Medal of the Order of Australia (General Division), “For service to education, and to mathematics.” 
  • Jan Zika received a 2018 European Geosciences Union (EGU) Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award. Dr Zika was honoured by EGU for his important contributions to the Earth, planetary and space sciences.
  • Professor McDougall won the 2017 NSW Premier’s Prize for Science and Engineering, for Excellence in Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry and Physics. In 2015 he received the Australian Academy of Science Jaeger Medal, which honours the contribution to science in Australia of the late Professor John Jaeger FAA, FRS.


  • James Franklin, Gary Froyland, Trevor McDougall, Ian Sloan, Chris Tisdell and David Warton are Fellows of the Royal Society of NSW. Professor Sloan was President of the Society from 2018-2021.
  • Several members of staff are Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science: Michael Cowling; Gary Froyland; Catherine Greenhill; Trevor McDougall; Colin Rogers; Igor Shparlinski; Ian Sloan and Fedor Sukochev.
  • Several are Fellows of the Australian Mathematical Society: Michael Cowling; Ian Doust; James Franklin; Gary Froyland; Bruce Henry; Igor Shparlinski; Ian Sloan; Fedor Sukochev and Chris Tisdell.
  • Gary Froyland was elected a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics in 2021. 
  • Trevor McDougall was announced a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2018, and joined the ranks of science greats as a Fellow of The Royal Society in 2012. 
  • In 2015, Prof McDougall received an Australian Laureate Fellowship, while Fedor Sukochev received one in 2017. These Fellowships are the most prestigious research awards from the ARC. 
  • Ian Sloan was elected a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society in early 2013. He joins an elite group of scientists from around the world, recognised for their contributions to the profession.
  • William Dunsmuir is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association.
  • Bruce Henry and Ian Sloan are Fellows of the Australian Institute of Physics.

Prestigious grants

  • Jan Zika, Darryn Waugh and several UNSW colleagues received an ARC Special Research Initiative in Excellence in Antarctic Science grant in 2021.
  • Scott Sisson received an ARC Future Fellowship in 2017 for his research project, "Frontiers in Data Science: Analysing Distribution as Data".
  • David Harvey received an ARC Future Fellowship in 2016 for his research project, "Counting points on algebraic surfaces". 
  • Future Fellowships provide four-year fellowships to outstanding Australian mid-career researchers. 
  • Igor Shparlinski received a 2014 Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA).
  • Fedor Sukochev received a 2012 Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) fellowship for his work in non commutative probability and analysis.
  • Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRAs) were conferred to Min Sha (2019), Michael Feischl (2017), Anita Liebenau (2017), Peter Straka (2016) and Dmitry Zanin (2015). This esteemed award supports and advances promising early career researchers, promoting enhanced opportunities for diverse career pathways.

Publications by the School on MathSciNet

A listing of UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics publications is available on MathSciNet (please note: a MathsSciNet subscription is required for access).