New NSF institutes to strengthen mathematics as base for national S&T

July 03, 2002

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is establishing three new research institutes that will help strengthen the mathematical sciences as the backbone for U.S. scientific and engineering research. These centers will develop mathematical approaches in the biosciences, promote applications of statistics and applied mathematics, and create a new research conference center.

The new NSF awards are projected to total $24 million over five years. A fourth $9-million award renews for six years the operation of an existing mathematical center that integrates education with research.

"At the institutes, mathematicians and statisticians will tackle new and compelling research and create venues for educating the next generation of scholars," said Philippe Tondeur, director of NSF's mathematical sciences division.

NSF currently supports three such institutes: the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles; the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications at the University of Minnesota; and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, Calif.

An award to Ohio State University in Columbus will lead to a Mathematical Biosciences Institute for interdisciplinary work on problems such as neuroscience and cell processes. This institute will develop the quantitative culture within the life sciences by bringing together people from both mathematical and biological backgrounds. Postdoctoral scientists will be jointly mentored by a bioscientist and a mathematical scientist, and seminars and courses will be aimed at a joint audience.

The Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute in Research Triangle Park, N.C., will forge ties between the statistical sciences, and applied mathematical sciences and other disciplines to meet data- and model-driven scientific challenges. Initial projects will include large-scale computer models for environmental systems. The consortium is led by Duke University in collaboration with North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the National Institute of Statistical Sciences.

The Research Conference Center of the American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) in Palo Alto, Calif., will host research workshops on fundamental and interdisciplinary mathematical sciences. Collaborations formed there are expected to lead to novel approaches to long-standing scientific challenges and to include underrepresented and junior researchers.

Renewal of an award to the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., will support participation by postdoctoral and mid-career mathematicians. The institute guides junior scientists in their research and conducts yearlong thematic programs led by distinguished senior visiting members. Recent programs have included theoretical computer science and discrete mathematics.
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NSF established the Mathematical Sciences Research Institutes awards in 1980 to provide postdoctoral training and to stimulate research, collaboration and communication in the mathematical sciences. The activity promotes interdisciplinary research, team building and collaborations with industry, government laboratories and international colleagues; enriches and invigorates mathematics education at all levels; and expands opportunities in the field for underrepresented groups.

National Science Foundation

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