The Centre of Excellence in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences was launched at the University of the Witwatersrand on 01 April 2014. Its focus is centred on the main theme of 'Mathematics of the Earth and Environment’, which is split into two sub-themes reflecting the pure and applied nature of the mathematical sciences - mathematics paradigms for the Earth and the environment; and mathematical, statistical and computational modelling of the Earth and the environment. Mathematics is the backbone of science, engineering and technology development and, as such, it is critical to South Africa's National System of Innovation and to South Africa’s future as a competitive, knowledge-based economy. The research undertaken by the CoE will assist in generating information relevant to environmental studies and help to address some of the challenges faced in climate studies while ultimately contributing knowledge to help curb global warming. Professor Fazal M. Mahomed is the director of the CoE.