The European Mathematical Society
Emerging Regional Centres of Excellence (ERCE)
Information on the seven current ERCE centers is available in the links below. Congratulations to IMSP (Benin), UB (Botswana), UCA (Morrocco) and ITB (Indonesia) on being admitted to the ERCE scheme in 2016! |
ERCE is a label of quality awarding those institutes that show an outstanding level in their own area of influence in research and education, being an attractor of students from other regions and countries. The label is granted for a period of 4 years with possibility of being renewed. The focus of this project is the education of students in the developed world to the Masters level and possibly PhD.
To train mathematicians from the least developed regions to say the Masters level, it is neither efficient nor necessary to send them to institutions of the highest level. Indeed among the emerging economical regions there are very good centres which can train mathematicians to the Masters level and higher. Indeed after obtaining a Master degree and equipped with strong background, the capable student can access any PhD program, within the region and beyond, say e.g. Europe.
Our successes so far have included, in collaboration with CIMPA, the education of Cambodian students in Vietnam to Masters level; as well as the education of Indonesian students in Pakistan, at the Abdus Salam School of Mathematical Sciences in Lahore.
It is important that institutes that play a central role in education at a regional leval are supported in their activity. It is in this spirit that our committee has initiated a scheme of Emerging Regional Centres of Excellence (ERCE). The idea is for EMS to select, endorse and help a number of such centres to offer training to M.Sc. level to students from less developed countries in their region. Following the above encouraging examples, provided there are institutions in the emerging economies who are interested in participating, and with the backing of the EMS, our committee is confident that such a scheme can reap dividends.
In sum, ERCE centres play a crucial role in the mathematical education and the development of quality and resources at a regional level. Indeed the scheme serves several goals at global, regional, and national level:
- the development of mathematical knowledge to Masters level;
- raising the number of mathematically qualified people with academic and industry perspective;
- increasing the visibility and prestige of the centre itself.
Our first call for interest went out in 2010. Since then a number of ERCE centres have been identified, see the top of the page. The list of criteria for participation in this scheme are:
- The centre is of good scientific standing in the region and neighboring regions.
- It has a good track record both in research and in pedagogy.
- The centre has a fairly international outlook.
- The centre has good, reasonably guaranteed long-term prospects.
- The centre is willing to admit and educate graduate students from less developed regions. It should have the infrastructure to do so, e.g. the language of instruction should preferably be in one of English, French or Spanish.
- The degree aimed at is M.Sc., and Ph.D. in exceptional cases.
- The centre is willing to welcome well-established foreign visiting mathematicians for collaboration in research and for teaching graduate courses.
- The centre should assist smaller centres nearby - the label should have a positive effect not only for the selected institution, but more widely for the development of mathematics in the region.
Institutes matching all, or most, of these criteria are encouraged to apply. The advantages for the ERCE centres are:
- The label can add prestige and visibility to the centre, which will most probably attract more and better students.
- Often this will in turn attract funding from local and regional sources.
- The members of CDC will be there to give support and advice whenever needed. Since this will be considered part of our direct mission, they will get priority of our time and resources.
- CDC will be on hand to help those of the students who might wish to and who are capable of continuing their studies after their M.Sc.
- CDC will try to send experienced lecturers to give short or medium courses, e.g. by involving the Volunteer Lecturer Program sponsored by the Developing Countries Strategy Group (DSCG) of the International Mathematical Union, in cooperation with CIMPA and the U.S National Committee for Mathematics.
- CDC will seek European hosts for researchers from these centres for visits or collaborations, or both.
- CDC will make available small grants for members of the centres to attend conferences, when appropriate.
Thanks to this scheme, the ERCE centre provide education in less developed regions and will, in exchange, get help to further develop themselves. It looks to be a very advantageous scheme for all: at the same time, with relatively small expenditure a larger number of students can receive their first graduate education, in a culture not too removed from their own. This will be a practical and efficient way for mathematicians to help other mathematicians.
For information about the scheme: firstname.lastname@example.org.