Cheryl Praeger

Emeritus Professor, AM, FAA, BSc & MSc Qld , MSc & DPhil Oxf. , DSc W.Aust. , Hon.DSc Prince of Songkla , DHC Libre de Bruxelles , Hon. PhD Yazd , Hon DSc St Andrews, Hon D Math Qld , Hon DSc Primorska , AMusA

  • The University of Western Australia (M019), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


Cheryl E Praeger is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, retiring in 2017 after 40 years service to UWA. She now focuses on research and research supervision in Group Theory and Combinatorics, in her role as Senior Honorary Research Fellow.

Professor Praeger has won many distinguished awards, recognising her as one of Australia's leading mathematicians. In 1999 she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia, and in 2021 she was appointed Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to mathematics, and to teriary eduction, as a leading academic and researcher, to international organisations, and as a champion of women in STEM careers.

Many of Professor Praeger's roles and awards have marked a first time for a woman: President of the Australian Mathematical Society (1992-1994), Lyle Medal of the Australian Academy of Science (2013, first awarded in 1935).

Professor Praeger was also the first pure mathematician, and the first Western Australian recipient of the Prime Minister's Prize for Science (2019); the first pure mathematician to win an ARC Federation Fellowship (2007-2012), or be named as WA Scientist of the Year (2009), or be inducted into the Western Australian Science Hall of Fame (2015).


Professor Praeger's research is on the theory of group actions and their applications in Algebraic Graph Theory and to Combinatorial Designs and other areas of Discrete Mathematics and Geometry; and algorithms for group computation including questions in statistical group theory and algorithmic complexity. Her mathematical work has been published in more than 400 journal articles and five monographs.

Her list of Publications can be found at

A discussion website for her book 'Permutation groups and cartesian decompositions' with Csaba Schneider in 2018 by Cambridge University Press is here:

Current projects

  • ARC Discovery project (DP200100080) Exceptionally symmetric combinatorial designs (2020-2022)
  • ARC Discovery project (DP190100450) Complexity of group algorithms and statistical fingerprints of group (2019-2021)
  • Isaac Newton Institute Cambridge, (supported by EPSRC grant no. EP/R014604/1) Groups, representations and applications: new perspectives (2020)

Funding overview

Her research has received continuous funding from the Australian Research Council since the 1990s. Details on ARC grant funding: 

Selective international research funding

  • Isaac Newton Institute Cambridge: Groups, representations and applications: new perspectives' (six month program), and Kirk Distinguished Visiting Fellowship (2020)
  • Mittag-Leffler Institute Stockholm:  Modern theory of group actions and the special role of finite simple groups (Summer school, 2019)
  • Hausdorff Research Institute for Mathematics Bonn:  Logic and algorithms in group theory (one month fellowship, 2018)
  • All Souls College Oxford: Visiting Fellow (2015)

Industrial relevance

Data Analysis Australia, Director since 1989

Roles and responsibilities

  • Australian Mathematical Olympiad Committee, Deputy Chair,  (Chair 1999-2019)
  • Committee for the Freedom and Responsibility inf Science, International Science Council (2019-2022)
  • Executive Board AASSA (Association of Academies and Societies for scinces in Asia) (2016-2021) and Chair of the Special Committee for Women in Science and Engineering 
  • Australian Academy of Science, Advisory Committee for International Matters (ACIM) 

In addition she was

  • First Australian-based mathematician elected to the Executive of the International Mathematical Union, 2007-2010, 2011-2014
  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (1996), amd Council member and Foreign Secretary 2014-2018.
  • Vice President, International Commission for Mathematical Instruction (ICMI), 2013-2016 

As a result of her service and achievements:

  • Honorary Member of the London Mathematical Society, 2014
  • Honorary Life Member of the Australian Mathematical Society, 2013
  • Inaugural Fellow of the American Mathematical Society, 2012
  • Citation for outstanding contributions to student learning, by the Australian Government Office for Teaching and Learning, 2012


Professor Praeger has been heavily involved in the direction of mathematics within Australia, within her roles as member of the Curriculum Development Council of the Commonwealth Schools Commission, Prime Minister's Science Council, WA Science Advisory Committee, and WISET Advisory Committee to the Federal Minister for Science on participation of women in Science, Engineering and Technology.

She promotes participation of women in STEM informally as a mentor and also through her role as Chair of the AASSA Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) committee.    

Previous positions

Prior to appointment at The University of Western Australia she held a Research Fellowship at the Australian National University and taught for a semester at the University of Virginia. She taught in the Mathematics and Statistics program at UWA and was Head of the Department of Mathematics 1992-1994, inaugural Dean of Postgraduate Research Studies 1996-1998, Chair Promotions and Tenure Committee 2000-2004, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Computing and Mathematics 2003-2006, ARC Professorial Fellow 2007, and Inaugural Director of the UWA Centre for the Mathematics of Symmetry and Computation 2010-2013.

Research expertise keywords

  • Algebraic combinatorics
  • Algorithms for groups
  • Geometry
  • Group theory
  • Combinatorial designs
  • Analysis of algorithms and complexity


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