Mathematics Research Communities


Call for 2024 MRC Organizer Proposals

The American Mathematical Society (AMS) seeks proposals from organizer teams for the 2024 Mathematics Research Communities (MRC) summer research conferences, the centerpiece of the MRC program. We seek proposals focusing in any area of pure, applicable, or interdisciplinary mathematics, as well as proposals focused on problems of relevance in the business, entrepreneurial, government labs and agencies, industry, and non-profit (BEGIN) arena.

We are looking for creative proposals that involve groups of 20 or 40 peri-doctoral mathematicians for an intensive week of collaborative problem-solving, research, and professional development. Ideally, BEGIN conference activities will serve a dual purpose of providing value-added for your organization—progress on problems it needs to solve and workforce connectivity—and of supporting the participants’ development for careers in companies, laboratories, agencies, or non-profit businesses for which mathematical training is a natural springboard.

Proposals covering topics not already represented in prior years are especially encouraged. While the summer conference is the centerpiece of the program, we encourage proposers to describe ways in which mentoring and career guidance for the participants can be sustained throughout the year following the summer conference.

What is MRC?

A distinctive national program of the AMS receiving generous support from the NSF and donors, the MRC program provides early-career mathematical scientists with engagement in collaborative research opportunities to be mentored by leading researchers, and experiences to help develop as professionals. In the years spanning 2008 through 2022, over 1,620 individuals have participated in MRCs spanning fifty-two different topical areas. The program provided these cohorts with an intensive summer research experience and supported many of these individuals’ participation in subsequent conferences, collaborations, and mentoring relationships. For many the experience has been transformative, providing a nexus of contact with researchers, and a springboard into long-lasting research relationships that have resulted in new knowledge, publications, and strengthened professional advancement.

The American Mathematical Society recognizes the breadth of people, thought, and experience that contribute to mathematics. We value the contributions of all members of our mathematics community to improve mathematics research, education, and the standing of the mathematical sciences. We welcome everyone interested in mathematics as we work to build a community that is diverse, respectful, accessible, and inclusive. As the largest mathematical organization in North America, the AMS is committed to using our reach and resources to generate equitable opportunities for all.

Starting in 2022, the AMS expanded the scope of the MRC programs to include cohorts led by BEGIN organizers. Continuing this initial MRC led by mathematicians from the national laboratories, we welcome and encourage inquiries and proposals from teams at government labs and agencies, companies, non-profits, and other similar organizations in addition to those from academic institutions.

Why be an Organizer?

Being an organizer presents opportunities to:

  • Deepen and broaden the network of individuals working in your area of research
  • Make connections with new collaborators and increase the effectiveness of your research
  • Tap into the talent and energy of early-career individuals for insight to problems where solutions have immediate value
  • Have a positive impact and generate goodwill in the wider community by contributing to the professionalism of practitioners of mathematics
  • Assist in the general effort of inviting and engaging participation in mathematical research by a diverse array of individuals—socio-economic, regional, gender, race/ethnicity, and type of employer
  • Travel to a scenic, inspiring destination for the summer research conference and receive support for attending the Joint Mathematics Meetings

Essential to the summer workshops—held at scenic retreat-style locations in the US—and key in the overall program are teams of experienced researchers who can:

  • Design and execute on an intensive, week-long program of hands-on, collaborative research for early-career mathematicians
  • Provide these early-career mathematicians guidance, both at the summer workshop and afterward, on developing as researchers and professionals.

In comparison with other conferences and workshops in which they have participated, organizers have found these conferences distinctive. They valued the collaborative group work, hands on attention to students, and a highly-interactive atmosphere. To quote a recent organizer, “…the collaborative, participatory environment of MRC is its greatest strength!”

From an article in Illinois Institute of Technology – Illinois Tech Today:

The workshop was a huge success, said Petrovic – It created an environment where career-long research relationships could be built. It introduced a new wave of young researchers to the field of algebraic statistics by engaging them with exciting research problems. It also provided opportunities for participants to obtain information and advice on topics vital for a junior researcher, such as publishing, presenting, and grant writing.
— Sonja Petrovic, Co-organizer of 2016 MRC and Participant in the first MRC in 2008

How to Develop a Proposal

We envision the development of proposals as iterative. An expression of interest should contain a brief description (a few paragraphs) of an idea for an MRC that addresses as many of the following questions as possible:

  • What is the list of organizers of this MRC?
  • What is the mathematical focus of the MRC?
  • What sort of background would you expect of the participants? What mathematical prerequisites are required?
  • Who is your intended audience?
  • What is the mathematical nature of the problems you anticipate the participants would undertake?
  • Why is the time ripe for this topic? For instance, is it a particularly active area of research?
  • Are there new techniques, recent breakthroughs, or important connections with other disciplines that offer rich research opportunities for early-career mathematicians?
  • What are a few specific examples of activities you would anticipate incorporating into the summer conference? Describe the problems you intend to work on.
  • What is your expected outcome?
  • Considering the potential size of the audience for this MRC and the sorts of activities you have in mind, does a 20-participant or a 40-participant conference seem preferable?

In response to an expression of interest, the program directors and MRC Advisory Board will provide feedback that should enable the inquiring teams to prepare full proposals. In turn, the directors and Board will consider the collection of full proposals that will ultimately run in 2024.

Send expressions of interest by September 15, 2022, to mrc2024@ams.org. Complete proposals received by November 30, 2022, will receive full consideration. Please see the organizer guidelines for more information. We aim for the development of a complete conference program by the end of February 2023.

Please direct questions or inquiries to mrc2024@ams.org.