2005: A Key Year for the DMS “Institute Portfolio"

October 21, 2005


Stanley Osher, director of special projects at the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics at UCLA, is the 2005 recipient of SIAM’s Ralph Kleinman Prize. Shown here at the awards luncheon in New Orleans, Osher was cited for “his many contributions to the analysis and computation of hyperbolic partial differential equations and their applications in science and engineering, and for his mentoring of young scientists and service to the scientific community.” Also acknowledged were “his many innovations in numerical schemes for conservation laws and Hamilton–Jacobi equations and in the development of the level set method and its applications”; this work has had “enormous impact across disciplinary boundaries, in image processing, control, flow simulation, and many other fields.”

With five-year renewal awards to the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics at UCLA and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, the Division of Mathematical Sciences at the National Science Foundation has completed the renewal cycle for its three "older" institutes.

For IPAM, which was established only in 2000, this was its first renewal. Funded at about $2.5 million a year during its first five years, it will receive $3.5 annually under the new grant. Mark Green is the current director of IPAM. MSRI, which was created more than 20 years ago, will receive $3.5 million a year for the next five years, as compared with $3.4 million under its previous award. David Eisenbud has been the director of MSRI since 1997.

As reported in the September issue of SIAM News (page 1), the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications at the University of Minnesota, founded at the same time as MSRI, emerged from the renewal process with a 77% increase, slated to receive $3.9 million annually for the next five years.

Institutes account almost entirely for the funding category labeled "Connections" in the DMS budget. In addition to IMA, IPAM, and MSRI, the list of DMS-supported institutes includes the Mathematical Biosciences Institute, or MBI, at Ohio State University and the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute, or SAMSI, in North Carolina, both established in 2002 and both now preparing for mid-term reviews. DMS also provides partial support to three others: the American Institute of Mathematics, or AIM, in Palo Alto (also established in 2002), the Banff International Research Station, in Canada (to which DMS awarded a $200,000/year increase this year), and the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton.

The DMS "Connections" category, which also includes a relatively small amount for conferences, accounts for about ten percent of the total DMS budget (approximately $200 million in fiscal year 2005 and, it appears, 2006). (The other budget categories are disciplinary (core) programs, 58%; workforce, 18%; and interdisciplinary programs, 14%.)

By maintaining its portfolio of institutes and, in the case of IMA and IPAM, providing marked increases in a flat-budget year, DMS makes it clear that it considers connections an important investment. Division director William Rundell describes the institutes as an effective and efficient way to achieve the NSF-wide goal of broadening participation in programs, making them accessible to women, members of ethnic minority groups, and people at institutions not usually funded by NSF. IMA and IPAM, with significant (and similar) percentages of participants from outside mathematics, emphasize the connections with other scientists implicit in interdisciplinary research. Finally, an important part of each institute's mission is to document its connections to the world at large in the form of short, nontechnical writeups--"nuggets"--describing their main accomplishments.


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