Putting their money where the math is

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A big U.S. foundation donates $1.3 million to bring foreign scholars to Montreal to work on research in mathematical sciences.

Marking Montreal's prestige in the international world of mathematical sciences, the New York-based Simons Foundation has awarded the Centre de Recherches Mathématiques (CRM), headquartered at Université de Montréal, an extraordinary  grant of  $1.3 million ($976,320 U.S.) to develop a visiting scholar program that will attract dozens of top-level professors and junior researchers to the city over the next five years.

“This is an exceptional grant, and the CRM is extremely grateful to the Simons Foundation for it," said the centre's director, Luc Vinet, who is Aisenstadt professor of physics at UdeM. "The money will be used to invite dozens of exceptional researchers in the mathematical sciences to the CRM for two to six months at a time, starting next fall; senior researchers will hold the title Simons CRM Professor and junior investigators will be designated Simons CRM Scholar. This grant will further enhance the already large role that the CRM plays internationally as it prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2018-19."

This grant was awarded by the Simons Foundation as part of its Targeted Grants to Institutes program. The program is intended to support established institutes or centers in the mathematics and physical sciences through funding to strengthen contacts within the international scientific community. The Simons Foundation offers only four such awards annually (the others this year went to research bodies in the U.S, Russia and South Africa) and as a recipient the CRM joins an elite group of institutes the program has supported since its creation in 2011.

“The CRM is very well known in the international mathematical community," said Gérard Ben Arous, chair of the CRM's international scientific advisory committee and professor of mathematics at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University. "The competition for the Targeted Grants to Institutes program is very high. That the CRM has been chosen as one of the few recipients testifies to its excellence. The Simons’ funding will allow the CRM to round out its portfolio of scientific offerings in a superb way and I look forward to the effect that this will have with much enthusiasm.”

About the CRM and the Simons Foundation

Founded in 1968 in Montreal, the CRM is the oldest institute for mathematical research in Canada. Its mission is to foster discovery and training across a broad section of the mathematical sciences. It is also involved in outreach activities with industry, schools and the public in general. It is one of the rare organizations for mathematical research that has the dual feature of being a residential centre and a visitors’ institute. The CRM comprises 13 multi-university laboratories hosting hundreds of researchers working in various areas of pure and applied mathematics, statistics, computer science, mathematical biology and theoretical physics; it also runs thematic semesters, summer schools and other activities that attract more than 2,000 visitors from around the world every year.

The mission of the Simons Foundation, established by mathematician-turned-financier Jim Simons in 1994, is to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences. It aims to support discovery–driven scientific research undertaken in pursuit of understanding the phenomena of our  world.

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