News Release: Governments of Canada, US, Mexico and Alberta support BIRS

Posted on Mon, Sep 27 2010 08:08:00

Banff, Alberta -- Mathematics is the core science of our technologically driven, global society. The Banff International Research Station (BIRS), at the renowned Banff Centre, provides a forum for the advancement of and exchange of knowledge in mathematics.

BIRS is a collaboration of Alberta Advanced Education and Technology, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada, the United States’ National Science Foundation (NSF), and Mexico’s Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia (CONACYT). “The Government of Canada is investing in science and technology to create jobs, strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life of Canadians”, said MP Blake Richards, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology. “Our $3.25 million investment in BIRS, through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) will help develop, attract and retain the world’s best researchers here in Canada.”

NSERC’s contribution is an investment made over five years that goes towards supporting BIRS and its operation, which in turn facilitates international collaborations and ensures that world-class mathematical research continues to be conducted in Canada. “Since its inception in 2003, BIRS has shown vision and leadership in creating an international meeting point for mathematical discovery and innovation, “says Suzanne Fortier, President of NSERC. “On this day of celebration, NSERC salutes the many accomplishments of BIRS.”

“International collaboration in the sciences is a vital way we’re building the knowledge-based next generation economy in Alberta,” said the Honourable Doug Horner, Deputy Premier and Minister of Alberta Advanced Education and Technology. “Having leaders in this foundational science working here positions Alberta, and Canada, as a focal point for collaborative solutions to global challenges.”

Building on previous Alberta support for BIRS, Alberta Advanced Education and Technology will provide $3.4 million over five years (2011 - 2015) to facilitate BIRS’ future operational plans and activities. The BIRS initiative promises to continue being a significant factor in building excellence in Alberta’s research communities and beyond. The new funding support will enable BIRS to provide the infrastructure for an environment that optimizes creative interaction and the exchange of ideas, knowledge and methods within a broad program covering the mathematical, statistical and computational sciences, as well as their applications in science, technology and society.

"Mathematical sciences are a key to innovation and for advancing the frontiers of scientific discovery,” said Dr. Cora Marrett, acting director of the US National Science Foundation, which is contributing $3.68 million to BIRS. “NSF-supported math sciences institutes, such as BIRS, provide ideal settings for synergistic activities within mathematical, statistical and computational sciences, and across various other disciplines. This synergy is important to solving important societal problems related to environment, health, security and sustainability. Beyond that, fostering collaborations among industry, government and academic institutions, without borders, will lead to advances in basic science."

“BIRS represents the only serious joint educational and scientific research program in the NAFTA space,” said Dr. José Antonio de la Peña, Deputy Director for Science, CONACyT. “It has given an international visibility to both Canadian and Mexican mathematical sciences as no other project has ever done”.

This is a tremendous success for a remarkable and groundbreaking North American collaboration in support of the world's mathematical sciences and their manifestations in science, technology, and society", says BIRS Scientific Director Nassif Ghoussoub. “This unprecedented multinational funding validates the importance, and vigor of the research conducted at BIRS”.

BIRS’ mandate is to embrace all aspects, both theoretical and applied, of the mathematical, computational and statistical sciences including fundamental challenges of pure and applied mathematics in computing science, statistics, and mathematical physics, financial and industrial mathematics, as well as the mathematics of information technology, and the life sciences. BIRS opened its doors to the world scientific community in March 2003. Since then, over 14,000 researchers from 2000 institutions in 70 countries have conducted collaborative research at BIRS. For more information go to

Media inquiries may be directed to: Dr. Nassif Ghoussoub, BIRS Scientific Director, Professor at the University of British Columbia

604-822-1649 email: [email protected]

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