We invite the submission of proposals for full- or half-year programs to be held at MSRI. Planning of such programs is generally done about three years ahead. Except in extraordinary cases, a subject is the focus of a program not more than once in ten years. MSRI maintains a list of past and currently scheduled programs.
A scientific program at MSRI generally consists of up to 9 months of concentrated activity in a specific area of current research interest in the mathematical sciences. MSRI usually runs two programs simultaneously, each with about forty mathematicians in residence at any given time. The most common program length is four months (typically in the form of a Fall or Spring semester program). Each program begins with Connections for Women and Introductory workshops, the purpose of which is to introduce the subject to the broader mathematical community. The programs receive administrative and financial support from the Institute, allowing organizers to focus on the scientific aspects of the activities.
The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) of the Institute meets in January, May and November each year to consider proposals for programs. The deadlines to submit proposals of any kind for review by the SAC are April 15, October 15 and December 15.
How to submit a Letter of Intent
The initial step is often to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI). An LOI should state which areas would be studied; who the organizers would be, confirming that three organizers would be in residence for the duration of the program; and why it would be a good idea to have this program at the proposed time. LOI need not be more than 2-3 pages and will be reviewed at the SAC meetings in January, May and November.
From Letter of Intent to Preproposal
If an LOI is reviewed favorably by the SAC, the organizers will be asked to submit a pre-proposal. Preproposals and proposals are developed in a collaborative process between the proposers, the Directorate and the SAC, and may be considered at more than one meeting of the SAC before selection.
The scientific planning and organization of each program are the responsibility of a committee of organizers (aided by a liaison of the Directorate and the SAC). Each program is allocated a budget for subsistence and travel expenses.
Preproposals, generally under 10 pages, are expected to include the following information:
Title and scientific description
The description should include a background of the topic, relationships with other parts of mathematics or other disciplines, goals and areas of potential progress, an outline of the proposed program's structure, proposed involvement of postdocs and interactions with other scientists, and why the proposal is particularly suited to MSRI. It is highly desirable that the program show the breadth of the mathematical field being treated, and take into special account its relation to other fields of mathematics and (in appropriate cases) other sciences and engineering.
The proposer should include a primary and secondary Mathematics Subject Classification Code
The proposer should include a list of program organizers, their affiliations, and their anticipated length of stay. All programs must have at least three organizers who will be in residence for the duration of the program. The program organizing committee has primary responsibility for the operation of the scientific program, including the choice of participants. It is an advantage that the organizing committee has a strong representation of women and U.S. based researchers, as we have found that this helps in recruiting women and U.S. based participants.
Identify potential key senior participants and their affiliations. A program should contain a significant component for postdoctoral fellows, including facilitating access to long-term senior visitors. We strive for diverse programs that include a strong representation of women, members of underrepresented minorities, and U.S. based researchers from a wide range of institutions.
From Preproposal to Proposal
In developing a proposal from a preproposal, the following should be considered:
Organizers and Key Participants
Members of the organizing committee are expected to be in attendance for a significant portion of the program, and a commitment of this kind is required for a successful proposal. At least three organizers must commit to be in attendance the duration of the program. The organizers should indicate their commitments of time. The organizers should also contact some of the key participants, to ascertain whether they are available.
The organizing committees for each of the three workshops should have been selected. The workshop organizers can be selected from the mathematical community and need not be restricted to the organizers of the program. Again, it is an advantage to have a diverse organizing committee for each workshop.
- Connections for Women workshop: Each program should plan for a 2-day workshop, preferably the first Thursday and Friday of the program. Connections for Women workshops are designed to attract women participants in particular. There are several successful models for this workshop; the format is best determined by the number of women active in the featured field. If the area of mathematics is one which traditionally has a large number of women, then the workshop can be used to highlight and showcase their individual work. However if the number of women in the field is low, then the workshop should attempt to attract a wider audience in efforts to stimulate interest in the area, as well as to encourage new connections among the women early in the program as a catalyst for eventual collaborations. Women attending the Connections for Women workshop are particularly encouraged to attend the introductory workshop.
- Introductory Workshop: The Connections for Women
is immediately followed by the Introductory Workshop. These 5-day workshops are
directed toward the mathematical community at large, designed to interest and
attract young researchers and other mathematicians not necessarily active in
the field. The
proposal must address how the organizers will ensure that the introductory
workshop will be truly introductory.
- Topical workshop: Lastly, sometime during the program a Topical workshop is held. This workshop is for a specialized audience of researchers.
A one page summary describing the program and its place in mathematics in general terms is required for posting on our website and distribution to sponsors. If possible it should have some simple graphic. It should be informative and attractive to an audience at the level of beginning graduate students. Successful examples of this genre are available for consultation.