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Math research facility receives record US science funding


Vancouver, BC – The Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, an international mathematics research facility with headquarters at the University of British Columbia, has received unprecedented funding from US, Albertan and Mexican funding agencies totaling nearly $10 million for the next five years.

The funding is for the Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS), which has contributed to major breakthroughs in fundamental mathematics, the development of fuel cell technology, understanding of the spread of SARS and improvement of math education. The funding includes:

– $3.1 million (US$2,641,500) from the US National Science Foundation, the largest NSF award ever received in Canada

– $3.4 million from the Alberta government, based on a recommendation by the Alberta Science Research Authority

– First-time contribution of $550,000 from CONACYT, Mexico’s National Science and Technology Council

– $1 million from Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems, an NCE in support of industrial mathematics

– $1.66 million from the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) which has its headquarters at UBC

The Banff facility is administered by PIMS at UBC with the support of the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, the University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University.

“This is a tremendous success for Canadian science,” says Ivar Ekeland, PIMS director. “BIRS has consistently run programs that emphasize the vitality of mathematics and its importance for science and technology. This unprecedented record-level multinational funding validates the importance, vigour and applicability of the research conducted at BIRS.”

“The substantial contributions by the Alberta and the US governments coupled with Mexico’s pledge for full participation and direct support of BIRS, represent a remarkable and groundbreaking North American collaboration in support of the world’s mathematical sciences and all their manifestations in science, technology, and society,” says Nassif Ghoussoub, BIRS scientific director.

Since its 2003 launch, over 6,500 researchers from 1,100 institutions in 52 countries have conducted research at BIRS.