# $2.5M NSF grant backs UIC mathematics research, career training program

The algebraic geometry and topology fields are among the most active areas in research mathematics.

Through a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, a team from the University of Illinois Chicago department of mathematics, statistics and computer science will run a program that aims to recruit, train and develop young scientists for research careers in those areas.

The Research Training Group in Algebra, Geometry and Topology at UIC will primarily support training graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in algebraic geometry and associated fields, such as commutative algebra and topology. Part of the funding also will assist workshops and conferences for graduate students, related undergraduate training and projects, and recruitment.

“UIC is one of the leading research centers in the U.S. in algebraic geometry and related areas,” said Izzet Coskun, UIC professor of mathematics, statistics and computer science, and the grant’s principal investigator. “The grant, which follows a successful seven-year NSF research and training group grant held at UIC, should help cement the university as home to one of the top mathematics departments in the country and help attract more top graduate students and postdocs.”

The grant will support four, three-year postdoc positions, while providing for graduate student stipends, tuition waivers and summer support, which will allow them to concentrate on their thesis work.

In addition to training the doctoral students and postdocs in the noted subject areas, the UIC researchers will run conferences, learning seminars and professional development workshops to bridge the gap between courses and current research, and will integrate the young researchers to the mathematical community.

“We expect the students and postdocs trained in the program to make significant contributions to our understanding of moduli spaces, birational geometry, characteristic p-techniques and the topology of three and four manifolds,” Coskun said.

Undergraduate students will be trained in mathematical research through projects in UIC’s Mathematical Computing Laboratory and summer research opportunities.

Among the goals of the UIC program is to help increase the number of underrepresented minorities in the mathematical workforce.

In order to recruit students into mathematical sciences, the UIC researchers will supervise high school research projects and continue to run workshops, talks, and problem-solving competitions for high school and middle school students and their teachers. They also will develop mentoring programs in association with the Emerging Scholars Program and UIC’s chapter of Association for Women in Mathematics to improve retention and to increase female and minority students, and postdocs in the program.

Co-principal investigators on the grant are Lawrence Ein, professor of mathematics, statistics, and computer science; Daniel Groves, professor of mathematics, statistics, and computer science; Julius Ross, associate professor of mathematics, statistics, and computer science; and Kevin Tucker, professor of mathematics, statistics, and computer science.

Other UIC researchers that are part of the grant and research training group team include David Dumas, professor of mathematics, statistics, and computer science; Alexander Furman, professor of mathematics, statistics, and computer science; Laura Schaposnik, associate professor of mathematics, statistics, and computer science; Brooke Shipley, professor and head of mathematics, statistics, and computer science; and Wenliang Zhang, associate professor of mathematics, statistics, and computer science.