Mathematical Sciences Research Institutes are national resources that aim to advance research in the mathematical sciences through programs supporting discovery and dissemination of knowledge in mathematics and statistics and enhancing connections to related fields in which the mathematical sciences can play important roles.
Institute activities help focus the attention of some of the best mathematical minds on problems of particular importance and timeliness. Institutes are also community resources that involve a broad segment of U.S.-based mathematical sciences researchers in their activities.
The goals of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institutes program include advancing research in the mathematical sciences, increasing the impact of the mathematical sciences in other disciplines, and expanding the talent base engaged in mathematical research in the United States.
Since establishing the first two institutes in 1980, the Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS) of the National Science Foundation has grown its Mathematical Sciences Research Institutes portfolio; it now supports seven U.S.-based institutes, each with a unique scientific focus.
The number of institutes expanded as a result of multiple open-funding competitions, a process that now occurs every 5-years. The level of support varies among the institutes and many secure funding beyond what is provided by the DMS.
Mathematical Sciences Research Institutes are large-scale projects that collectively have several important impacts:
- Institutes advance research in the mathematical sciences, encourage research that is timely and potentially transformative, and assist rapid and broad dissemination of new ideas;
- Institutes focus effort and excellence in the mathematical sciences, operating on a national scale to reach across the mathematical disciplines, to explore emerging frontiers of those disciplines, and to engage with scientific opportunities in other fields;
- Institutes provide intellectual infrastructure for research collaborations within the mathematical sciences and at the interface of the mathematical sciences and other disciplines;
- Institutes increase the impact of the mathematical sciences in other disciplines by sponsoring interdisciplinary activities and enhancing synergistic approaches to significant scientific problems;
- Institutes provide opportunities for students and postdoctoral fellows to interact with leading researchers;
- Institutes support the exchange of information with business, industry, government, and national laboratories, providing access to expertise in the mathematical sciences;
- Institutes demonstrate leadership in promoting diversity in the mathematical sciences enterprise;
- Institutes provide opportunities for outreach to the scientific community and the public at large;
- Institutes play an important role in fostering international collaborations.