The Geoff Mercer Endowment honours its namesake, a highly regarded Professor at the National Centre of Epidemiology and Population Health (NCEPH) in the Research School of Population Health (RSPH), who passed away suddenly in April 2014 at the peak of his career.
The establishment of the endowment recognises Geoff’s outstanding contribution to the NCEPH and RSPH communities, especially his attentiveness as a teacher and mentor, his dedication to service and his research achievements. At the time of his death Geoff was NCEPH Acting Director, RSPH Delegated Authority for higher degree by research students, oversaw the Masters in Public Health program and was head of NCEPH’s infectious disease epidemiology and modelling group.
Although he only turned his skills to infectious disease modelling when he joined NCEPH in early 2009 his impact was significant. Geoff was passionate about applied mathematics and during his career contributed in a variety of roles to the Australia and New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics Division of the Australian Mathematical Society. In 2013 he was awarded the E.O. Tuck Medal for mid-career researchers for excellence in research and service to applied mathematics and he was posthumously accredited as a Fellow of the Australian Mathematical Society.
Geoff was committed to fostering the academic development of students. As a teacher and mentor Geoff was patient, generous with his time and ideas, and unwavering in his support. This endowment will continue Geoff’s legacy of mentoring and support of students, by funding a grant for postgraduate RSPH students to undertake an activity in pursuit of their academic goals, including travel to a national or international conference. Given Geoff’s commitment to applying mathematics to population health, especially infectious disease problems, students undertaking research in that area are particularly encouraged to apply.