Comunicazione da Flavio Pressacco

By | April 1, 2007

Dear Professor Flavio Pressacco, President of the Italian Association of Mathematics applied to Economics and Social Sciences,

I would like to inform you and your members about the following three important issues listed below.

1. European Research Council (ERC)

I believe you have noticed that the recently started 7th Framework Programme includes a section named ìIdeasî which is administered by the European Research Council, a pan-European grant agency.
It is a new concept that could substantially improve the research environment in Europe; its key feature is that the grants awarded are based on excellence as a single criterion.
The ERCís first call is devoted to Starting Grants aimed at bright young people, 2-9 years after their PhD, with the goal to help them establish themselves as independent research leaders.

I believe that young mathematicians in your country are aware of this programme and ready to take the challenge. I want to remind you that the deadline for the call is April 25; more information about these grants and the ERC in general can be found at the address
Three days ago I received a worrying letter from Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, chairman of the ERC panel in Mathematics (see attachments). 
In this letter Jean-Pierre expresses, in particular, his concern about future funding of Mathematics. He writes that it has been decided ì…to distribute the support according to the pressure discipline..î. This means that in order to obtain good funding for Mathematics in the future, we have to encourage young mathematicians to apply now, at the beginning of the creation of the ERC.
It is not difficult to submit a proposal. One only needs to produce a 4-page file followed by a more detailed document at a later stage. It is recommended to pre-register before April 4, but it is not obligatory. 
Please try to distribute this information among the members of your Society and if possible send it to the Heads of Mathematics Departments in your country.

2. Summer schools for young students

Our great concern is that many young people who are talented in mathematics do not choose to study mathematics. 
Perhaps we should look to the many European countries that have good traditions of attracting children to Mathematics.
For example, since 2001, the Russian Academy of Science, Steklov Institute Moscow Education Committee and Centre of Mathematical Education, have organized a Summer School in Dubna (near Moscow) for pupils from high school or first /second year university students, where renowned professors give lectures to about 100 participants. There has been a suggestion to share this experience with Western Countries.

At the last meeting of the EMS Executive Committee in Amsterdam it was decided to contact all Presidents of the National Societies and suggest that each Society choose one or two students for such a Summer School and support their trip to Dubnaís School which this year, will be held between July 19-30. One possibility is that such students could be selected from among the winners of recent National Mathematical Olympiads.
The EMS is ready to offer some financial support to the Societies from Eastern Europe, contact persons are: Jan Kratochvil: or
Carlo Sbordone:

The contact person in Russia is Vitaly Arnold You may also write to . Vitaly has promised that within the next 10 days, a web-page in English will be created with the address: which can also be reached via the existing
web-page (in Russian) .

Among the ìteachersî this year are: V.I. Arnold, D.B. Anosov, S.P. Novikov and many others excellent mathematicians. The lectures will be either in English or in Russian with simultaneous translation into English.
I realise that this initiative comes a bit too late and that it might be difficult to organize anything at such short notice. But I still hope that it might be possible for some countries to send some students.
If there is enough interest, it should be able to organize such a school again in Dubna next year. However, it would be very good to have such a school in another European Country.
Please let me know if your country might consider taking on such a project.

3. Zentralblatt new web-site

In my editorial published in the last issue of the EMS Newletter, I have mentioned that Zentralblatt is going to launch a new web-site which would be a European version of the MathSciNet. For the first three months starting from April 1 it will be free to everyone. After that it will continue to be free of charge for individual EMS members for a period of at least two years. At the end of June 2007 we shall contact EMS individual members explaining how they can ìloginî to the ZBl web-page.
I met Bernd Wegner (director of ZBl) two days ago and he ensured me that the ZBl website will be working properly from April 1.

Yours sincerely,
Ari Laptev
EMS President