Personal details

Associate Professor Petrus van Heijster
Associate Professor
Science and Engineering Faculty,
Mathematical Sciences,
Applied and Computational Mathematics
Discipline *
Applied Mathematics, Pure Mathematics, Numerical and Computational Mathematics
+61 7 3138 1671
View location details (QUT staff and student access only)
Identifiers and profiles

Dr (University of Amsterdam)

Professional memberships
and associations

Professional Memberships

  • SIAM (Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics)
  • SIAM activity group: Dynamical Systems (Advisory Board 1/1/16 – present)
  • SIAM activity group: Nonlinear Waves and Coherent Structures
  • AustMS (Australian Mathematical Society)
  • AustMS division: ANZIAM (Australia and New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics)

reaction-diffusion equations, singularly perturbed techniques, stability analyses, nonlinear pattern formation, defect systems, travelling waves, interaction of localised structures

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008



Dr Petrus (Peter) van Heijster was a PhD student in applied mathematics at the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) under the supervision of Prof. Dr. A. Doelman. In 2009, he received his degree from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. His thesis Front Interactions in a Three-Component System was awarded with the Stieltjes Prize for best PhD thesis in mathematics. Following graduation, Dr van Heijster was awarded a NWO Rubicon fellowship to conduct two years of postdoctoral research at Brown University in the USA under the supervision of Prof. B. Sandstede. He then worked as a postdoctoral associate at Boston University in the USA before commencing in august 2012 at QUT as a lecturer in the Applied and computational mathematics discipline.

In 2014, Dr van Heijster was recognised with a prestigious Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) fellowship, where he focused on research in the area of the analysis of defect driven pattern formation. In 2014, he was promoted to senior lecturer at QUT and he has been unit coordinator and lecturer for various undergraduate and postgraduate units. In 2016, he also received a Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice from QUT.  


Dr van Heijster is a applied analyst and his research focusses on nonlinear dynamics, and in particular on understanding pattern formation. The aim of his research is to get a better understanding of the pattern formation processes in paradigmatic mathematical models and to apply the new insights to more biologically-realistic models. He is particularly interested in the theoretical and mathematical underpinnings of the effects of heterogeneities on pattern formation processes.                

Research interests

  • pattern formation
  • nonlinear dynamics
  • singular perturbation techniques
  • canard theory
  • stability theory
  • Evan’s functions
  • renormalization group methods
  • center manifold reductions
  • travelling waves
  • cell migration

Awards and recognition 

Dr van Heijster has received two prestigious fellowships in his young career

  • NWO Rubicon fellowship (60K)
  • Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) fellowship (390K)

In addition, he received several smaller grants and awards

  • Vice-chancellor’s Performance Award 2015, QUT (6K)
  • SEF Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Research Supervision (School of Mathematical Sciences winner), QUT (0.3K)
  • ECARD/VCRF Travel Fellowship, QUT (7K)
  • QUT Early Career Academic Recruitment and Development Grant, QUT (15K)
  • Stieltjes prize for the best PhD thesis (1.2K)


According to Google Scholar Dr van Heijster has 190 citations with an h-index of 7 and an i10-index of 6. For more information, see also Dr van Heijster’s personal website.

This information has been contributed by Associate Professor Petrus van Heijster.


Dr van Heijster has taught undergraduate and postgraduate units at Brown University (USA), Boston university (USA) and QUT. After completing his ARC DECRA fellowship in 2017, Dr van Heijster re-commenced teaching QUT’s applied mathematics units:

  • 2017: Semester 2: Honours module on Singular Perturbation Methods
  • 2017: Semester 2: MXB106: Linear algebra and Differential Equations (Lecturer (50 %) & Unit Coordinator)
  • 2017: Semester 1: MXB102: Abstract Mathematical Reasoning (Lecturer & Unit coordinator)
  • 2014: Semester 2: MAB/MAN413: Differential Equations (Unit Coordinator only)
  • 2013: Semester 2: MAB/MAN413: Differential Equations (Lecturer & Unit Coordinator)
  • 2013: Semester 1: MAB121: Single Variable Calculus and Differential Equations (Lecturer)
  • 2012: Semester 2: MAB/MAN413: Differential Equations (Lecturer & Unit Coordinator)

Teaching awards and achievements

  • 2017: Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice, QUT.
  • 2014: QUT School of Mathematical Sciences awardee of the Science and Engineering Faculty Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Research Supervision.

Dr van Heijster has supervised 2 PhD students to completion and 1 honours student. Currently, he is supervising 4 PhD students.

This information has been contributed by Associate Professor Petrus van Heijster.


For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.


Awards and recognition

Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
QUT Vice-Chancellor's Performance Award for Excellence in Student Supervision
Committee Role/Editor or Chair of an Academic Conference
Reference year
Treasurer ANZIAM 2015 conference
Keynote Speaker/Expert Panel Member/Invited Speaker for a Conference
Reference year
Invited speaker at the international conference ICMMA 2015: Self-Organization Modeling and Analysis, Tokyo, Japan
Reference year
Rubicon fellowship to conduct two years of postdoctoral research at a top institute abroad. Awarded: 45.000 Euro.

Research projects

Grants and projects (Category 1: Australian Competitive Grants only)

Analysis of defect driven pattern formation in mathematical models
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
Start year
dynamical systems; pattern formation; applied differential equations