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Overview of CIMPA

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CIMPA is an international organisation working for the development of mathematics research in developing countries. Founded in France in 1978, CIMPA is based in Nice and is a UNESCO category 2 centre.

Its role is to promote research and higher education in pure or applied mathematics and interactions between the two as well as related disciplines.

CIMPA has a strategic role in promoting research and is part of the Laboratoire d’Excellence Centres d’Accueil et de Rencontres Mathématiques Internationales (CARMIN) with the l’Institut Henri Poincaré (IHP), l’Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IHES) and the Centre International de Rencontres Mathématiques (CIRM).

The main sources of funding are the Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche (MESR, France, Direction Générale pour la Recherche et l’Innovation and Direction des Relations Européennes et Internationales et de la Coopération), the Université Montpellier 2, the Université Nice Sophia-Antipolis (UNS, France), the Institut National des Sciences Mathématiques et de leurs Interactions (INSMI, CNRS, France) and CARMIN.

For a number of years it has also been able to count on the support of the Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad (MINECO, Spain) and the Ministry of Education and Research (Norway). The Université de Neuchâtel gives its support, thus representing Switzerland. This collaboration is supported by the Secrétariat d’Etat à la formation, à la recherche et à l’innovation (SEFRI).

CIMPA is a non-profit organisation, and depends on many mathematicians and institutional members the world over. CIMPA is based in France and is developing into a European centre so that other countries can give it financial support, participate in its activities and thus allow it to meet the many demands of developing countries more effectively.

CIMPA’s main task is the organisation of research schools. This is the bulk of its activities and is focussed on areas where there is a real drive to shine a spotlight on, or develop, mathematics or where there is scope for a research project.

Every year a call for proposals is launched to organise around twenty research schools lasting two weeks each in developing countries across all continents.

Their purpose is to contribute to training by identifying new generations of mathematicians of both genders.

Each research school has an average of 40 participants. Proposals are submitted to CIMPA then assessed by the Scientific Council around two years in advance ; The Steering Council then selects successful proposals. CIMPA has become renowned in France and worldwide for its research schools and their outcomes.

CIMPA strives to respect maintain a balance in three key areas which it sees as a priority : geographical balance, theme balance and gender balance. Moreover it acts as a catalyst for initiatives and supports them without replacing mathematicians on the ground. CIMPA cannot and does not want to do everything or fund everything. Indeed the impact of such an approach would be contrary to its objectives.

Other actions include support for theme networks, activities in partnership with other bodies with similar objectives such as the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), projects in cooperation with international learned societies such as the International Mathematical Union (IMU), the International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ICIAM), the European Mathematical Society (EMS), the South-East Asia Mathematical Society (SEAMS), the African Mathematical Union (AMU) and the Unión Matemática de América Latina y el Caribe (UMALCA).

In close cooperation with these last three continental mathematical unions, CIMPA is developing ambitious work to support advanced mathematics schools for development, lasting from between 15 and 30 days each. They are Masters level schools and tend to consolidate training in areas where it is starting to become established. They have been running for ten years in Latin America (EMALCAs) with remarkable results and for over two years in Africa (EMAs) and South-East Asia (SEAMS schools).

The main organisations that support CIMPA sit on the board as well as seven mathematicians including three from developing countries (Argentina, Philippines and Senegal). They are elected for a four year term which can be renewed once.

The activities of CIMPA are not restricted to providing support for the administrative or financial management of projects or programmes. Despite its limited financial resources, CIMPA deems it to be essential to participate in and contribute to emerging scientific activity and the consolidation of structures for mathematics research in southern countries. CIMPA is an association of mathematicians who work to promote mathematics research.

October 2012.

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