Interview with a mathematician: Nassif Ghoussoub

Posted on Wed, Oct 12 2016 12:29:00

BIRS Director Appointed Officer of the Order of Canada

Posted on Fri, Sep 30 2016 15:41:00

Nassif Ghoussoub, O.C. and Governor General of Canada, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston Nassif Ghoussoub, O.C. and Governor General of Canada, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston at the Order of Canada Investiture Ceremony on Sept. 23, 2016.

The Submission of BIRS and Canada’s Mathematical Sciences Institutes to Canada’s Fundamental Science Review

Posted on Tue, Sep 20 2016 16:42:00
The Mathematical Sciences are the foundation of any advanced research ecosystem, and Canada’s mathematical sciences institutes have been instrumental in supporting this ecosystem. They do so by providing scientific leadership, by developing coherent national strategies for mathematical and statistical discovery and innovation, by transcending geographic and disciplinary barriers, by maximizing provincial leveraging, by spearheading international partnerships, and by connecting the research enterprise with the imperatives of providing training and education at all levels.

The modus operandi of these institutes complements, and sometimes fills gaps in the current Canadian granting system. In addition to advocating for the continuation and the enhancement of support for these institutes, we believe that an examination of the pattern of success generated by the Institutes may also have bearing on some of the issues that your panel is considering so as to chart a better future for Canada’s scientific research.

We submit the following points and recommendations for consideration by the Panel:

Canada’s science policy should foster the primary goals of fundamental science: to explain and improve humankind’s understanding of the natural world, and to open the way for future progress through training of young scientists. This aspect should be streamlined and separated from the various funding programs within NSERC, CIHR, SSHRC, NRC, NCE and other agencies that promote commercializable lines of investigation through partnerships with the industrial sector.

The federal research strategy should be revised to restore coherence to the portfolio of offered programs. The task of matching sufficient funds to research proposals that merit investment is obstructed by the complexity of navigating through hundreds of programs. Research investment programs should be reconfigured or merged to eliminate artificial barriers between disciplines and granting agencies. For example, statistical scientists should have access to envelopes supporting methodological research in fields like genomics, clinical trials, and public health at CIHR, social networks, analytics, and data mining at SSHRC.

Mathematical, statistical and computational sciences with broad access to larger thematic program areas could more effectively contribute across the spectrum of Canada’s research activities. Ideas from Computer Science, Statistics and Mathematics define the frameworks used to understand nature: examples include interactions of matter, flows of energy and information, and the dynamics of social and biological systems. The importance of the mathematical sciences is deepening in almost all areas of knowledge. Improvements in our understanding depend upon research and high-level training in the mathematical sciences.

Funding allocations to support research should follow consistent and rigorous evaluation processes incorporating independent scientific peer review. Direct research investments without peer review undermine the transparency of the portfolio of research funding programs.

Mathematical scientists helped to create the National Research Council in 1916 and launched MITACS in 1999. Through our international partnerships, interdisciplinary and industrial outreach activities, and a robust national network, the mathematical sciences institutes demonstrate excellence and provide scientific leadership for Canada.

View the original release here.


2018 BIRS-CMO program in Banff and Oaxaca: Call for Proposals

Posted on Mon, Jun 06 2016 13:59:00

La version française suit ci-dessous. La versión española sigue abajo.

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is now accepting proposals for its 2018 program. BIRS will again be hosting a 48-week scientific program at its station in Banff. BIRS is also hoping to run an additional 20-25 workshops at its affiliated station, Casa Matemática Oaxaca (CMO), in Mexico.

The mandate of BIRS is to provide an environment for creative interaction and the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the mathematical, statistical, and computing sciences, and with related disciplines and industrial sectors. Each week, the station hosts either a full workshop (42 people for 5 days) or two half-workshops (each with 21 people for 5 days). As usual, BIRS provides full accommodation, board, and research facilities at no cost to the invited participants, in a setting conducive to research and collaboration.

The deadline for 5-day Workshop and Summer School proposals is Thursday September 29, 2016.

Proposals need to take into account that BIRS is committed to increasing the participation of women and other under-represented groups in mathematical sciences research and their applications. Full information, guidelines, and online forms are available at the BIRS website:

In addition BIRS will operate its Research in Teams and Focused Research Groups programs, which allow smaller groups of researchers to get together for several weeks of uninterrupted work at the station. September 29, 2016 is also the preferred date to apply for these programs. However, proposals for projects involving Research in Teams or Focused Research Groups can be submitted at any time – subject to availability – they must be received at least 4 months before their requested start date.

Proposal submissions should be made using the online submission form. Please use:

Nassif Ghoussoub, Scientific Director,
The Banff International Research Station


Version francaise:

La station internationale de recherche en sciences mathématiques de Banff (BIRS) lance un appel à projets pour l’année 2018. Le centre accueillera de nouveau un programme scientifique de 48 semaines. BIRS compte également accueillir 20 à 25 ateliers supplémentaires dans son centre affilié, Casa Matemática Oaxaca (CMO), au Mexique.

La mission de BIRS est de mettre à la disposition de la communauté scientifique internationale un environnement de recherche qui favorise les interactions et les échanges d'idées et de connaissances entre les membres des communautés mathématiques, statistiques, informatiques ainsi que leurs applications dans les sciences et dans le secteur industriel.

En 2018, BIRS compte accueillir au moins un atelier standard (42 personnes pour 5 jours) soit deux demi- ateliers (21 personnes pour 5 jours) par semaine. BIRS fournit aux participants invités l’infrastructure de recherche appropriée, ainsi que le logement et les repas dans un cadre convivial, propice aux échanges d’idées et aux collaborations scientifiques.

La date limite pour le dépôt des dossiers concernant les ateliers et les écoles d'été est fixée au jeudi 29 septembre 2016.

Les candidats sont priés de prendre en consideration que BIRS s’engage à accroître la participation des femmes et d'autres groupes sous-représentés dans la recherche en sciences mathématiques et de leurs applications. Des informations complètes ainsi que les formulaires à remplir en ligne sont disponibles sur le site Internet

De plus, BIRS continue de mener ses programmes de Recherche en Equipes (RIT) et de Groupes de Recherche (FRG), qui permettent à des équipes de chercheurs de se retrouver dans la station pour plusieurs semaines afin de mener à bien un projet de recherche en collaboration. Les dossiers de demandes pour ces programmes doivent – de préférence – être déposés aussi avant le 29 septembre 2016. Cependant, les dossiers concernant ces deux derniers programmes (FRG et RIT) seront également acceptés à tout autre moment à condition qu’ils soient soumis au moins 4 mois avant la date à laquelle le projet est supposé débuter.

Les dossiers de candidature doivent être soumis sur Internet à l'adresse suivante:

Nassif Ghoussoub
Directeur, Banff International Research Station


versión española:

La Estación de Investigación Internacional de Banff para la Innovación y el Descubrimiento (BIRS) matemático esta aceptando propuestas para su programa de 2018. El centro recibirá nuevamente un programa científico de 48 semanas. BIRS cuenta igualmente con abrir un Centro adscrito, Casa Matemática Oaxaca (CMO) en México, donde podrá recibir de 20 a 25 talleres adicionales.

La estación tiene como misión proporcionar un ambiente de interacción creativa y de intercambio de ideas, conocimiento y métodos dentro de las ciencias matemáticas, estadísticas y computacionales así como de disciplinas relacionadas y de sectores industriales. Cada semana, la estación tendrá o un taller completo (42 personas por 5 días) o bien, dos talleres parciales (cada uno con 21 personas por 5 días). Como es la costumbre, BIRS provee la infraestructura de investigación apropiada, así como el alojamiento y las comidas para los participantes, en un marco de convivialidad, propicio al intercambio de ideas y a las colaboraciones científicas.

La fecha limite para propuestas de talleres de 5 días y la escuela de verano es el jueves, 29 de Septiembre, 2016.

Tienen las Propuestas que Tener en Cuenta que Comprometido BIRS this tiene Aumentar la Participación de las Mujeres y Otros Grupos en las Ciencias subrepresentados matemáticas Investigación Y Sus Aplicaciones. Mas información, reglas y formatos estan disponibles en el sitio del BIRS:

Ademas de esto, BIRS propicia trabajos de equipo y en programas de grupos de investigación enfocados a un tema en especial, lo cual permite que los investigadores se reúnan durante varias semanas sin interrupciones en la estación. El 29 de septiembre de 2016 es también el día más conveniente para solicitar estos programas. Sin embargo, este tipo de propuestas pueden ser presentadas en cualquier momento – sujeto a disponibilidad – y deberán ser recibidos por lo menos 4 meses antes del día propuesto para el inicio.

Las propuestas deberían hacerse por medio del formato en linea que se encuentra en:

Nassif Ghoussoub
Director Científico, Estación de Investigación Internacional de Banff

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