Thank you for your interest in the Institute for Enquiring Minds.

The Institute is an educational initiative dedicated to helping under-resourced school students improve their maths skills. Our goal is to increase participation in advanced secondary school maths by providing free mathematical mentoring to financially disadvantaged students. We believe that by working one-on-one with enthusiastic experts, young people can be helped to rediscover their mathematical self-belief and raise their expectations of success.


There is a well documented crisis in school mathematics in Australia. Just as the digital revolution is hurtling us towards a future in which strong foundational skills in science and mathematics will be more in demand than ever before, participation in advanced high-school maths is collapsing, standards are falling and the gender gap is widening. No surprise then that demand for private tutoring has surged over the last decade. Parents have come to regard spending upwards of $50 an hour for personalised support, often on top of private school fees, as a necessity. But what of those students from under-resourced backgrounds, those for whom private tutoring is simply not an option? Not surprisingly they are significantly more likely to leave school without any formal mathematics qualification. The vicious cycle of social inequality and social immobility is thus perpetuated. The societal fissure between rich and poor widens.

The Institute for Enquiring Minds is an educational initiative dedicated to helping precisely these students. The goal of The Institute is to redefine access to maths tutoring and in so doing reset attitudes towards mathematics and mathematicians.

There is a desire, in particular amongst the university students who form the core workforce of the burgeoning private tutoring business, to help break the vicious cycle. These socially engaged young mathematicians are prepared to donate two hours of their time per week to mathematically mentor a disadvantaged school student. Organising and deploying this mentoring bandwidth, The Institute aims to redefine access to individualised mathematical support. What an opportunity for a school student, who is either struggling or under-challenged, is keen to learn but cannot afford private tuition. They can start to rebuild their mathematical self-belief or grow mathematical wings, by working one-on-one with a maths wizard so passionate about their subject they are willing to gift their enthusiasm, knowledge and time.

Just as important for our volunteer mentors is a desire to challenge existing stereotypes of mathematics and mathematicians. Social educational programmes are typically aligned with the arts. Mathematics is too often portrayed as a cold, difficult subject only enjoyed and mastered by socially inept geeks. Our initiative is a proud celebration of our volunteer’s love of mathematics and their commitment to positive social change. The empathy and enthusiasm of our volunteer mentors will reset attitudes of who mathematicians are and how it can feel to do mathematics.


It is crucial that the commitment of our volunteer mentors is matched by the dedication and effort of the students we help. We therefore deliver our mentoring through a scholarship program. Paid maths tutoring can cost anywhere from $35 to $100 per hour. The monetary value of a terms worth of two hours per week tutoring, at a typical $50 per hour, is therefore $800 — simply out of reach for most families. Unless, that is, they win an Institute for Enquiring Minds Scholarship. These awards are strictly for committed students and afford the successful applicant 16 hours of face-to-face, one-to-one mathematical mentoring. By explicitly attaching the $800 value to these scholarships we are acknowledging the expertise and exceptional social commitment of our mentors as well as the dedication and effort we expect of our scholars. The costs associated will be met by The Institute and its benefactors. As the programme grows, the public and private sector, both local and national, will be invited to become named sponsors of scholarships.

In order to retain our volunteers and achieve meaningful progress for our scholars we need to ensure our mentors and scholars are equally motivated and work consistently over an extended period of time. This is why, in general, we require a minimum engagement of a terms worth of 2 hours per week. This is not meant to indicate a cap on the mentoring available to the scholar. Rather, it expresses our belief that this is the time it will take to achieve meaningful results and that it is the appropriate point at which to pause and reflect upon what has been achieved. The expectation is that the scholarship would simply be extended and that, ideally, the scholar would continue working with the same mentor.

Find out more about becoming a scholar! To win a scholarship, neither academic results nor a desire to pursue a STEM career are essential. Financial hardship and an eagerness to improve your maths skills now are our key criteria. We anticipate that through your engagement with our mentors, your horizons will be broadened and new future pathways will become available.


The Institute for Enquiring Minds mentors are passionate maths experts with a desire to change the way people both experience and perceive mathematics. Offering so much more than maths coaching for the next school exam, we refer to them as mentors rather than tutors. They are role models whose personalities and empathy put the lie to the myth of mathematicians as socially awkward nerds. The Institute for Enquiring Minds mentors embody the breadth of possible pathways offered by a mathematical education.

If you have, or are currently studying toward, a degree in a mathematical subject and are eager to share your love of maths with a student from a financially disadvantaged background why not join us? Find out more about the process of becoming a mentor and either register your interest or email us at info@enquiringminds.org.

Our Team

We are a group with extensive educational experience spanning multiple subjects (mathematics, art, medicine, coding and EAL) and multiple modalities (tutoring, lecturing, training, course design, asynchronous learning system design, podcasting, manual/textbook authorship, critical analysis and mentorship).

Dr Andrew Jacobs – the founder. Andrew holds a PhD in theoretical physics and worked as an academic mathematician before becoming a quant for Deutsche Bank in London (2000-2012). After leaving London, Andrew and his family were based in Munich, where he successfully piloted a version of The Institute before settling here in Melbourne. Andrew has a broad range of educational experience including university and high school teaching as well as one-on-one tutoring from primary school to undergraduate university level.

Ruth Höflich – a visual artist born in Germany now based in Melbourne. Ruth holds a BA (Hons.) from the Slade School of Five Art, London and MFA from Bard College, New York. Her work includes photography, video and print. Ruth frequently engages in collaborative and curatorial projects and has worked on the committee of several artist-run initiatives both in the UK and Germany. She has exhibited internationally and was awarded the Emerging Artist Prize of the City of Munich in 2016.

Jenny Nam – an ELICOS teacher and Edtech developer. Jenny holds a BA with a major in Linguistics from the University of Melbourne. She has worked in the banking and investment sector in Sydney, Melbourne, New York and Singapore. Jenny is also a techie and has been in an augmented reality startup for education and contributed to coding in Open Source projects. She is currently working on applying Artificial Intelligence to language learning. Jenny has been highly recognised in for her contribution to the youth community and was recognised with an Order of Australia Certificate of Commendation in her youth.

Dr Doug Lynch – Co-Founder. MA (Cantab.) MBBS MPHTM PGC (Aeromedicine) PGC (Refugee Health & Disaster Medicine) – Medical doctor born in Ireland, studied in England, trained in Australia. He has specialised in Critical Care (emergency, ICU, anaesthesia and aeromedicine) and Medical Education. Doug has taught at multiple Australian hospitals and universities and is a former head of education at the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland). He is a podcaster, blogger, asynchronous teacher and has a strong association with the Free Open Access Medical Education movement. Doug is heavily involved in public health and healthy eating education projects ranging from grass roots projects embedded in schools to television documentaries. Doug has taught intelligent young people in medicine for 20 years and brings the best innovative medical education tools to the world of mathematics. Doug is our primary point of contact for all Mentor interaction.