May Workshop Highlights DMS Opportunities

June 30, 2003

Workshop participants heard from all six of the DMS-supported institutes. Shown at left are Doug Arnold (right), director of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications at the University of Minnesota, and Avner Friedman, who after a long and successful term as IMA director is founding director of the year-old Mathematical Biosciences Institute at Ohio State University. Organized around year-long programs (the current one is in optimization), the IMA also offers such opportunities as "new directions" visiting professorships for those interested in working in different areas and a flourishing postdoc program. The more focused MBI pans a program on the modeling of cell processes for the fall.
Drawn to Arlington, Virginia, for a two-day workshop (May 9 and 10) on funding opportunities from the National Science Foundation's Division of Mathematical Sciences, participants---for the most part department chairs---heard about virtually everything in the DMS portfolio, along with a few NSF-wide programs. All programs mentioned are described in detail on the Web (start with, and the 25 DMS program directors are always happy to discuss ideas with potential proposers.

The information-rich workshop had two tracks: one on "pipeline" issues and the other on research programs. DMS director Bill Rundell considered both in a talk whose revealing slide titles included "trials and tribulations of a program director" and "relative costs and difficult choices." He alluded to a solicitation designed to address pipeline issues in part by taking the VIGRE program in new directions; an announcement was expected within the week (check the Web site for up-to-date information).

Program directors Deborah Lockhart, Chris Stark, and Keith Crank were on hand to discuss the division's interdisciplinary programs. Describing a joint initiative with the National Institute of General Medical Science for work on biomedical problems not amenable to solution by existing mathematical methods, Crank urged those interested to contact him. Stark updated the audience on CARGO, a joint program of NSF's CISE directorate, DARPA, and DMS, for the computational and algorithmic representation of geometric objects. John Stufken (not pictured) discussed opportunities for joint work in the geosciences.

The DMS portfolio is a carefully balanced collection of programs ranging from single-investigator grants to the six major institutes. Program director Henry Warchall (right) discussed Focused Research Groups, research grants with no required educational or interdisciplinary component, designed for those wishing to carry out research best done by a group (defined as more than one person) that together "is greater than the sum of its parts." About 14 FRG awards are expected in FY 03.

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