Government of Canada

Government of Canada

February 10, 2017 12:10 ET

Government of Canada invests in mathematics research to advance clean energy, advanced manufacturing, and healthcare

Banff-based world leading math institute is a joint Canada, Alberta, U.S., and Mexico initiative

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Feb. 10, 2017) - Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

When mathematicians and scientists connect and collaborate, they often come up with new ideas that can help solve some of the world's most pressing environmental, health and economic issues. That's why the Government of Canada is joining the province of Alberta, along with the United States and Mexico, in an effort to fund mathematics research at the Banff International Research Station (BIRS), one of the world's leading centres of mathematical research and discovery.

The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veteran Affairs, on behalf of the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, and Cameron Westhead, MLA for Banff-Cochrane, on behalf of the Honourable Deron Bilous, Alberta Minister of Economic Development and Trade, today announced $12.8 million in new funding for BIRS, a global hub for math research. Each year the Station gives more than 2,000 researchers from more than 60 countries an opportunity to meet with peers to share ideas on the frontiers of mathematics knowledge.

The collaboration among these brilliant and creative mathematical minds leads to groundbreaking research ventures in clean energy technology, computer science, climate science, a full range of biology areas from cell biology to ecology, and the prediction and mitigation of natural disasters. Their breakthroughs and resulting applications help to create safe communities, a healthy environment and a strong, vibrant middle class.


"It is incredibly exciting to have one of the world's best mathematical institutes here in Alberta. Students and mathematicians come from across the globe in order to learn new methods and participate in groundbreaking discoveries. I am excited the Government of Canada is investing in such an excellent example of Canada's research excellence."

- The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs

"Our government is committed to supporting the full suite of fundamental and applied research, from science and engineering to technology and mathematics. Today's announcement is a testament to our government's belief in the role that researchers, be they from Canada or abroad, play producing evidence-based solutions that will support a clean environment, a sustainable economy and a strong middle class."

- The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

"Mathematics forms the basis of virtually every scientific endeavour. Experts collaborating at the Banff International Research Station are providing us with multiple, diverse points of view that will ultimately provide new tools and techniques to help tackle the world's toughest research challenges. We are proud to support such a unique, international collaboration."

- B. Mario Pinto, President, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

"Bringing thousands of the world's best researchers to Alberta has benefits for every sector in our province including energy, technology, health, agriculture, forestry and manufacturing. By supporting BIRS we are supporting research and innovation that will help create a diversified economy for the future."

- The Honourable Deron Bilous, Alberta Minister of Economic Development and Trade

"It's with great enthusiasm that the Division of Mathematical Sciences at the U.S. National Science Foundation continues this productive collaboration with its esteemed North American partners. This collaboration represents a unique effort aimed at bringing together mathematical scientists, fostering collaboration and advancing work on some of the most challenging scientific and mathematical problems. We value this partnership and are proud to continue our participation!"

- Michael Vogelius, Director, Mathematical Sciences Division, National Science Foundation

"The renewal of this unprecedented multinational funding validates the importance, and vigour of the research conducted at BIRS. It is a tremendous success for a remarkable and groundbreaking North American collaboration in support of the world's mathematical sciences and their manifestations in science, technology, and society."
- Doug Mitchell, Chair of the Board of Directors, Banff International Research Station

"The association of our top researchers with BIRS has given a tremendous boost to Mexico's mathematical science community. The BIRS-CMO (Casa Matemática Oaxaca) partnership, which includes the Institute of Mathematics of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and the CONACYT Centre, Centro de Investigación en Matemáticas, represents a unique joint educational and scientific research program in the NAFTA space, that we are hoping to emulate in the other sciences."

- Enrique Cabrero Mendoza, Director of Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología

Quick facts

  • The funding totals by partner are:
    • $3,405,000 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
    • $4,042,918 from Alberta (Ministry of Economic Development and Trade)
    • $5,086,000 (US$3,865,000) from the National Science Foundation
    • $250,000 from the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología. (This is in addition to a previously announced investment of 43 million pesos in the Casa Matemática Oaxaca, a BIRS-affiliate in Oaxaca, Mexico.)
    • In additional to the funding announced today, BIRS is receiving $400,000 in support from the University of British Columbia, along with considerable in-kind support from the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary.
  • The NSERC portion of the funding comes from the Collaborative and Thematic Resources Support in Mathematics and Statistics Program.
  • By adding experts from non-math fields to their debates, the latest in math knowledge can be applied to find solutions to a wide variety of real-life problems, such as clean energy technologies, advanced manufacturing, and health and social well-being researchers.

Related products

Information on the Collaborative and Thematic Resources Support in Mathematics and Statistics Program

Associated links

Where NSERC Invests and Why

A Vision of NSERC in 2020

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NSERC invests over $1 billion each year in natural sciences and engineering research in Canada. Our investments deliver discoveries-valuable world-firsts in knowledge claimed by a brain trust of over 11,000 professors. Our investments enable partnerships and collaborations that connect industry with discoveries and the people behind them. Researcher-industry partnerships established by NSERC help inform R&D, solve scale-up challenges, and reduce the risks of developing high-potential technology.

NSERC also provides scholarships and hands-on training experience for more than 30,000 post-secondary students and postdoctoral fellows. These young researchers will be the next generation of science and engineering leaders in Canada.

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