Terms of reference

Terms of Reference:

Long-Range Plan for Canadian Mathematical and Statistical Sciences

Steering committee

I. Context

At the request of NSERC, the Canadian mathematics and statistics communities will engage in a long range planning exercise over the next 15-18 months.  A long-range plan (LRP) will allow the communities to identify areas of strength and establish a unified vision of priorities and directions for mathematics and statistics research in Canada.  It will be used to inform NSERC and the Mathematics & Statistics Evaluation Group of the communities’ priorities for research infrastructure, thereby allowing for the best use of resources to advance the work of the community as a whole.

The LRP exercise is a collaborative process and will reflect broad consultation with the communities.  Key partners in this process include the Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS), the Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematics Society (CAIMS) and  the Statistical Society of Canada (SSC), as well as of the three Mathematical Institutes (Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS), the Centre de recherches mathématiques (CRM) and the Fields Institute) and the Banff International Research Station (BIRS).
II. Purpose

The purpose of the Long-range Plan Steering Committee is to provide a framework for, and oversee the development of, the Long-range Plan for Canadian Mathematics and Statistics – a planning process to define communities’ visions and identify a collaborative agenda for mathematics and statistics research in Canada over a five to ten year horizon.

III. Governance, Operation and Financial Support

The LRP will be a process that is conducted by the mathematics and statistics communities and that is initiated by NSERC.

NSERC representatives will work closely with the LRP Steering Committee to provide Secretariat functions and logistical support to the Steering Committee.

NSERC will contribute towards the development of the LRP and will provide the Steering Committee and the Writing Panel with appropriate financial support for the purposes of organizing meetings, travel of Committee members to these meetings, collection of community input andthe preparation of the LRP report.

IV. Long-range Plan Steering Committee

The composition of the committee is as follows:

  • Alejandro Adem
  • Edward Bierstone
  • Eddy Campbell
  • Charmaine Dean
  • Christian Genest
  • Niky Kamran
  • Rachel Kuske
  • Mark Lewis
  • Nancy Reid (chair)
  • Gail Ivanoff (ex officio) Group Chair of the Mathematics and Statistics Evaluation Group
  • Anne-Marie Thompson (ex officio) NSERC Director, Research Grants, Physical and Mathematical Sciences Division

V. Mandate

The mandate of the Long-range Plan Steering Committee is to provide advice and recommendations to ensure the LRP is representative, relevant and useful in the planning of long-term research and development for the mathematical and statistical sciences in Canada.

In carrying out this mandate, the Long-range Plan Steering Committee will:

  • Provide overall direction for the management of the LRP process, including the budget, work plans, research and development issues to be considered, and timelines;
  • Provide guidance on emerging trends and developments;
  • Appoint a Writing Panel;
  • Establish a collaborative web page for dissemination to, and input from, the relevant research communities
  • Elaborate a broad consultation strategy to solicit input;
  • Prepare progress reports and the final Long-range Plan, as well as communications to the mathematics and statistics communities as appropriate;
  • Ensure the LRP is completed in an efficient and timely manner

Writing Panel

The LRP itself will be formulated by a Writing Panel which will be composed of an appropriate number of experts who will cover the main sub-disciplines reviewed by NSERC’s Mathematics & Statistics Evaluation Group.  The membership of the Writing Panel will be determined by the Long-range Plan Steering Committee and there may be some overlap with that of the Steering Committee.

Members of the Steering Committee will carry out the consultation strategy to solicit input and determine how this input will be reflected in the LRP.  Primary input for the development of the LRP is expected to come from broad consultation with the Canadian mathematics and statistics communities, in part, through interaction with the scientific societies and institutes.  It is expected that input will be solicited through a series of activities, such as the formation of sub-committees, advisory committees, presentations at open meetings and at town hall meetings, on-line discussion, and surveys.  It is crucial that consultation and subsequent incorporation of the input into the LRP be achieved through a fair, transparent and rigorous process.  These elements are critical to the overall success of the LRP.

Elements of the Long-range Plan
The LRP should reflect the following elements:

  • Current and future scientific context;
    • How are current scientific developments affecting research in mathematics and statistics
    • How is research in mathematics and statistics impacting science
    • How does/should research in mathematics and statistics contribute to national science policy discussions
  • How best to support the present programs of research;
    • How does existing infrastructure support research and training in mathematics and statistics
    • Are there opportunities for different mechanisms that would strengthen the support of research, for example, to facilitate greater collaboration
    • Are there important areas of research that are ‘falling between the cracks’, in terms of NSERC funding
    • Recognizing that adequate funding continues to be a struggle, is the current mix of resources suitable for research goals in mathematics and statistics
  • The role of the Mathematical Institutes and BIRS as community resources;
    • How do current programs at the institutes impact research, training and recruitment in mathematics and statistics
    • What types of Institute initiatives might enhance their impact on research in mathematics and statistics
  • Identification of important new initiatives and directions;
  • How best to incorporate new initiatives into the research agenda;
  • How best to leverage other research resources;

The LRP will also include assessments of the funding levels associated with these elements. While the LRP will be developed under an assumption of stable funding, it will identify both essential core items and priorities for enhanced investment under a scenario of modestly increased funding.  The recommendations that will be made via the LRP must take into account NSERC’s policies.

VI. Process and Time line

The Long-range Plan Steering Committee membership will be completed by the end of July 2010, and a kickoff meeting will be held shortly after to review the present Terms and Conditions and draw a work plan with specific objectives, activities and deliverables.

The Long-range Plan Steering Committee will meet as required for the duration of the planning exercise to provide oversight, approve work plans, approve progress reports and the final LRP, with a goal of completion by January 2012.

VII. Conflicts of Interest and Confidentiality

All members must strictly comply with the terms of the statement on ethics for NSERC selection committees and panels. Moreover, for the purpose of this exercise, a member will be considered to be in a situation of conflict of interest during a discussion on prioritization of a specific endeavour that would directly benefit the member or the member’s organization.