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Leading mathematicians forming new Ukrainian research centre


Former ERC head and multiple Fields medallists involved in International Centre for Mathematics in Ukraine

A new international centre for mathematics is being founded in Ukraine, with the involvement of some of the world’s top mathematicians and the support of the Ukrainian government.

The mission of the new International Centre for Mathematics in Ukraine (ICMU) is to “support top-level research in mathematics, with special emphasis on training younger generations of scientists and the development of mathematics in Ukraine”.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has taken a toll on the country’s research sector, with many institutions damaged and researchers displaced. But amid the ongoing war, a group of mathematicians of Ukrainian origin joined forces to create the new research centre, building on the country’s strong maths tradition.

The location of the centre is yet to be determined. With the intention of running thematic programmes and fellowships, researchers will be invited to attend the centre physically only once it is safe to do so. In the meantime, events will be arranged with partner institutions worldwide.

Top-level leadership

The ICMU’s coordination committee includes Maryna Viazovska, a Ukrainian winner of the Fields medal, which is considered as prestigious as a Nobel prize. The centre’s advisory board also boasts another three Fields medalists—Vladimir Drinfeld, Peter Scholze and Efim Zelmanov.

Viazovska, who is based at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, in Switzerland, said the ICMU “will follow the models of other established institutions for fundamental research”.

The first support meeting for the creation of the ICMU was held on 12 January at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques, on the outskirts of Paris.

Following the meeting, French mathematician Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, former president of the European Research Council, said he was “very honoured” to have been elected as the first member of the ICMU’s board of trustees.

The ICMU, which is supported by the National Research Foundation of Ukraine, has as its founding and principal donor the algorithmic trading company XTX Markets, which has committed up to €1m in match funding for donations and pledges in 2023.