How to Propose a Program or Workshop

ICERM encourages proposals for programs that support its mission "to foster and broaden the relationship between mathematics and computation". These include semester programs, topical workshops, Hot Topic workshops, Collaborate@ICERM teams, and Summer@ICERM undergraduate research programs. We are open to proposals from any area of the mathematical sciences. Both pure and applied fields may benefit from the positive feedback between computation and theory that ICERM seeks to promote. ICERM Directors can help proposers flesh out their ideas within the context of our mission.

Developing an ICERM workshop or semester program is an iterative process, involving many conversations with ICERM Directors and proposal drafts in response to feedback from Directors and ICERM's boards, and fine-tuning after the event is publicly announced. The first step is often a brief conversation with a Director or board member. While not every idea leads to a program or even a proposal, about half of formal proposals result in ICERM programs.

Program organizers are involved in decisions regarding invitations of research fellows and speakers, as well as the selection of participants who apply to attend their programs. Financial decisions are the responsibility of ICERM Directors. Once a program is accepted, organizers continue to receive scientific feedback and guidance from the Directors. In addition, the institute's event, finance, and IT staff provide comprehensive logistical and customer support to all organizers and participants.

General Advice

Effective proposals generally address several questions: Why is the proposed scientific topic important and timely? How does it support ICERM's mission? Who will organize the event, i.e., give scientific direction and make necessary decisions as the program develops? How will the event attract participation from the community, including from underrepresented groups? And how will it support the training of early-career researchers?

Directors are happy to offer feedback on draft proposals in advance of program deadlines.

Semester Programs

ICERM hosts two semester programs per year. Each has organizers and long-term participants who are expected to be in residence for the majority of the semester. Semester programs typically incorporate three week-long associated workshops. For a typical program, ICERM provides travel and lodging support for 5-10 organizers (at least a month in residence, with some for the full semester); 20-30 long-term participants (4+ weeks); 1 Institute and 4 Semester postdoctoral fellows (salaried); 60 short-term participants (1-4 weeks); 10-15 graduate students (6+ weeks); and workshop attendees. ICERM helps essential long-term participants negotiate sabbatical leaves or teaching releases to foster their participation.

Proposal Requirements

Contact the ICERM Director to discuss program ideas prior to submitting a formal proposal.

A semester program proposal should be 6-10 pages and contain:

  • List of 5-10 organizers, including the main contact for organizing committee
  • Short abstract of the program's basic goals and underlying philosophy
  • Description of the program area/theme and central scientific challenges, written for a general mathematical audience
  • Description of the experimental and computational aspects of the program
  • Plans for ensuring the participation of underrepresented groups
  • List of 8-10 high priority senior scientists likely to visit ICERM for a month or more
  • Ranked list of 20+ potential long-term participants who will help form a critical mass for the scientific program
  • Description of three proposed workshops, including potential organizers, if known
  • Description of a 2-3 day opening event that will survey guiding problems or introduce key computational or experimental methodologies
  • Concrete plans for involving and mentoring graduate students, postdocs, and early-career mathematicians in the program
Deadline and Review Process

Proposals should be submitted to the ICERM Director. Annual target deadlines are October 1st and May 1st. ICERM Directors and the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) review all proposals. Proposers will receive feedback within a month of the SAB meeting.

Semester Program Organizer Timelines

Steps and deadlines for Fall Semester Proposals
Steps and deadlines for Spring Semester Proposals

Past Programs

View Past Semester Programs

Topical Workshops

ICERM's topical workshops run over 5 weekdays and focus on a timely and exciting theme that aligns with the institute's mission of supporting and broadening the relationship between mathematics and computation. ICERM hosts 5-7 topical workshops each year. They are typically scheduled in December, January, and May through August (around the dates of the semester programs). ICERM covers travel and lodging expenses of the organizers and 20-25 invited speakers/lead participants; some participants (applicants) to the workshop may also be supported.

Proposal Requirements

Contact the ICERM Director to discuss program ideas prior to submitting a formal proposal.

A topical workshop proposal should be 2-4 pages and contain:

  • List of 3-6 organizers, and the main contact for the organizing committee
  • Description of the program area/theme, written for a general mathematical audience
  • Description of the experimental and computational aspects of the program
  • Plans for ensuring the participation of underrepresented groups.
Deadline and Review Process

Proposals should be submitted to the ICERM Director. Annual target deadlines are October 1st and May 1st. ICERM Directors and the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) review all proposals. Proposers will receive feedback within a month of the SAB meeting.

Past Programs

View Past Topical Workshops

Hot Topics Workshops

Hot Topics workshops are designed to allow ICERM to move quickly in order to start the public exploration of breakthroughs and emerging mathematical areas. They run 2-3 days and are organized on a few months' notice. They can originate through suggestions from ICERM boards or the community. A Simons Foundation Targeted Grant provides financial support of around $50K for each Hot Topics workshop, including honoraria to attract key speakers and organizers.

To Suggest a Hot Topics Workshop

As a first step, write the ICERM Director with the following:

  • List of potential organizers (you may suggest yourself!)
  • Description of the program area/theme (1 paragraph)
  • Explanation about why it is a "Hot Topic" (1 paragraph)
  • List of 8-10 potential high-level speakers/participants, and their research areas.
Deadline and Review Process

Hot Topics suggestions are accepted on a rolling basis. Suggestions are considered by the ICERM Directors, and a sub-committee of ICERM's Scientific Advisory Board that decides which ideas are developed into workshops. ICERM responds to all Hot Topics suggestions within two weeks.

Summer@ICERM Undergraduate Research

Summer@ICERM is not your typical REU, in that ICERM provides comprehensive start-to-finish logistical support to the faculty organizers, including assistance recruiting TAs. In addition, faculty and TAs are paid summer salary with lodging support, and the average faculty/TA-to-student ratio is 3:1.

Summer@ICERM is an eight-week summer research program for 16-20 undergraduates, with participants selected (via MathPrograms.org) from a talented pool of students currently enrolled in U.S. universities and colleges. A small number of international participants may also be admitted.

Students work in small groups, typically in pairs, supervised by faculty advisors and assisted by TAs.

In addition to research projects, the program includes topical mini-courses and colloquium-style lectures given by invited speakers. Students present their findings at a symposium at the end of the program. Faculty organizers and TAs are required to be in residence for a minimum of six of the eight weeks, especially the first and last week of the program. Faculty and TAs receive a stipend and travel support, and faculty also get partial or full support for lodging. Students receive stipends, room, and board.

Proposal Requirements

Contact the ICERM Director to discuss program ideas prior to submitting a formal proposal.

Summer@ICERM proposals should be 4-6 pages and contain:

  • List of 2-3 faculty leaders, the main contact for the program, and plans for their residency during the program. One faculty leader must be in residence every week, and each faculty leader is expected to be in residence for at least 6 of the 8 weeks - especially the first and last weeks
  • Description of the program area/theme, written for a general mathematical audience
  • Description of the central scientific challenges to be addressed by the program
  • Discussion of the experimental and computational aspects of the program
  • Description of 3-5 research projects suitable for undergraduates
  • Plans for a computational research component such as computer experiments, visualizations, or coding projects
  • Plans for how TAs will be utilized during the program, and suggestions for 3-5 potential TA candidates; ICERM will also assist with recruiting TAs.
Deadline and Review Process

Proposals should be submitted to the ICERM Director. The deadline is September 1st of each year. ICERM Directors and the Education Advisory Board (EAB) review all proposals. Proposers receive feedback within a month of the EAB meeting. Proposals from faculty experienced in leading undergraduate research projects are given preference.

Past Programs

View Past Summer@ICERM Programs

Collaborate@ICERM

Collaborate@ICERM offers teams of 3-6 researchers the opportunity to spend five days at the institute during the summer (May-August) or during the month of January. The team research project should have a computational or experimental component. ICERM provides access to a variety of software packages as well as to high performance computing through Brown's Center for Computation and Visualization.

Proposals involving research projects that continue a collaboration fostered at one of the past ICERM semester programs are encouraged. This program provides funding for travel to the institute and local accommodations for six nights. International travel is partially supported. The entire team should be present for the week at ICERM.

Proposal Requirements

Though it is not required, Collaborate@ICERM proposers are welcome to contact the ICERM Director prior to submitting a proposal for preliminary feedback.

The 2-3 page Collaborate@ICERM proposal should include:

  • Broad research objectives and specific goals for the week at ICERM, written for a general mathematical audience
  • Members of the team (3-6)
  • The case for convening at ICERM
  • A list of possible dates (5 weekdays in May-August or in January)
  • 2-page CVs for each team member.
Deadline and Review Process

Completed proposals should be submitted to the ICERM Director. Annual target deadlines are October 1st and May 1st. ICERM Directors and the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) review all proposals. Proposers will receive feedback within a month of the SAB meeting.

Past Programs

View Past Collaborate@ICERM Programs