Call for Proposals (2020)

If you would like a list of potential principal lecturers, selected by our advisory board, please contact David Bressoud, bressoud@macalester.edu.

See also NSF Program Announcement and Program Solicitation 19-539.

I. Program Description

A. Overview

To stimulate interest and activity in mathematical research, the National Science Foundation intends to support up to ten NSF-CBMS Regional Research Conferences in 2020. In the 50 year history of this NSF-CBMS Regional Research Conference Series, a total of 372 such conferences have been held. Each five day conference features a distinguished “principal lecturer” who coordinates the delivery of ten lectures by at most three people, including the principal lecturer, on a topic of important current research in one sharply focused area of the mathematical sciences. The principal lecturer is responsible for providing online materials that will be posted on the CBMS website. Support is provided for about 30 participants at each conference. The conference organizer should invite both established researchers and interested newcomers, including postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, to attend. Guidelines for proposal preparation can be found at https://nsf.gov/pubs/2019/nsf19539/nsf19539.pdf.

B. Distinguishing Features of the Regional Research Conference Series

The continuing success and strength of this conference series over the past 50 years is due to certain distinguishing features which differentiate these conferences from typical research conferences. These are

1. Focus on a single important and timely area of research coordinated by a leading practitioner, the “principal lecturer” There can be from one to a maximum of three lecturers presenting the ten main lectures. Each lecturer is a major contributor to the subject area of the conference and has a broad perspective on that area. The lectures pull together the major ideas and recent results and chart the possible future directions for the field. The purpose of this format is to ensure that the participants, especially the new or recent entrants to the field, gain a deeper understanding of the major outstanding problems and current directions of research in the field than they would get from the typical conference format where many people present talks on their own results. Recognizing that the most effective conferences allocate large chunks of time for new researchers to interact with others regarding questions and methods, conference organizers will be required to describe the facilitation of this networking, whether through problem sessions, hands-on experiences with software, small group Q&A discussions, or other means.

2. Posted online materials For both immediacy of dissemination and broad access to the information produced for the conference, the principal lecturer will be responsible for the following materials that will be posted on the CBMS website:

  • Historical context, a reading list, basic definitions, relevant results, and an outline of the 10 forthcoming talks, to be supplied before the start of the conference.
  • Prepared slides (e.g., PDF, PowerPoint, or Beamer), which will be submitted to  CBMS by the end of the conference.
  • An expanded account of the 10 talks within 45 days of the conference’s conclusion.

In addition, the conference organizers are encouraged to video-record the ten main lectures, to be posted on the CBMS website.

3. Published monograph for a wider audience The monograph based on the lectures presents, to a much wider audience than the conference alone provides, a carefully prepared synthesis of and perspective on an active field of research organized by one of its leading contributors.

4. Continued effect and local stimulation through regional emphasis The purpose of the regional emphasis, with many of the participants drawn from areas geographically proximate to the host institution, is to provide a strong stimulus for increased local research activity and to assure that the contacts made during the conference will continue. Participants include not only established researchers but also newcomers to the field such as graduate students, postdocs, and faculty wishing to learn a new area.

C. Continued Effect and Local Stimulation through Regional  Emphasis

The purpose of the regional emphasis, with many of the participants drawn from areas geographically proximate to the host institution, is to provide a strong stimulus for increased local research activity and to assure that the contacts made during the conference will continue. Participants include not only established researchers but also newcomers to the field such as graduate students, postdocs, and faculty wishing to learn a new area.

D. Eligibility and Proposal Preparation

For eligibility requirements and instructions for proposal preparation, go to the homepage for this program at https://nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=504930 or to Program Solicitation 15-539 at https://nsf.gov/pubs/2019/nsf19539/nsf19539.pdf. Inquiries concerning this conference series or the preparation of proposals for conferences should be directed to NSF program officer Matthew Douglas, mdouglas@nsf.gov, or Swatee Naik, snaik@nsf.gov.

E. CBMS Assistance

CBMS is prepared to discuss ideas for conferences and to preview proposals in order to assist those who wish to apply. Contact the CBMS Director, David Bressoud, bressoud@macalester.edu.