The very first Mathematical Study Group with Industry was held in Oxford in 1968, the brainchild of Alan Tayler and Leslie Fox, both of whom realised the importance and value of getting mathematicians together with industrialists to identify and solve problems.
The format remains unchanged since 1968:
Representatives from industry present problems on the first day of the study group.
Mathematicians work together with the industrialists to brainstorm ideas and work towards practical solutions.
On the final day of the study group, the mathematicians give presentations on the progress made, and in the following weeks they prepare reports to describe in detail what was achieved and what opportunities there are for further work.
This simple format has proved its value again and again: companies from diverse industries have benefited from the insights gained through mathematical analysis of their problems, while mathematicians with diverse interests have benefited from the exciting research opportunities presented by unsolved problems with practical significance.
By bringing together people from a wide range of backgrounds to focus on issues with real importance to industry, study groups have helped to facilitate excellent mathematical research and excellent improvements for industry.