Presse release – 12 January 2023
Mathematics, a driving force for the reconstruction after the war: creation of the new International Centre for Mathematics in Ukraine, with the support of IHES.
On January 12, 2023, the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IHES) hosted the first support meeting for the creation of the new International Centre for Mathematics in Ukraine (ICMU), in the presence of mathematicians leading the project, representatives of European mathematical institutes and a few leading figures in mathematics philanthropy. The Ukrainian authorities were represented at this meeting by Mykhailo Podolyak, Adviser to the Head of the Office of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, while the French government was represented by Claire Giry, Director General for Research and Innovation at the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research. Six Fields Medal laureates also participated in this meeting, showing their support and solidarity with the Ukrainian mathematical community.
In a speech welcoming the project, Advisor Mykhailo Podolyak declared: “This is a timely and exciting initiative. I am delighted to see an excellent team of our scientists who are willing to put their international experience into work for the future of Ukraine. Though at this time the major efforts of Ukrainian authorities are concentrated on solving the humanitarian and military problems, we acknowledge the importance of science in raising our economy after the war. It is of vital importance for Ukraine to be a part of the global scientific process.”
On behalf of the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research, Claire Giry declared: “We are very proud that French mathematics supports the creation of the new International Centre for Mathematics in Ukraine. I recall our collective desire to build a long-lasting partnership between our two research communities.”
Emmanuel Ullmo, Director of IHES, commented: “IHES is convinced that mathematics and science will be of paramount importance to prepare and build the future of Ukraine. We are proud to support this new International Centre for Mathematics.”
Mission of the International Centre for Mathematics in Ukraine
Believing firmly that science and research will have a key role to play in the reconstruction of Ukraine after the war, a group of mathematicians of Ukrainian origin have joined to create a new Centre for mathematical research, forming its initial Coordination Committee. Building on a strong mathematical tradition in Ukraine, the mission of this Centre is to support high level research in mathematics, with special emphasis on training younger generations of scientists and developing mathematics in Ukraine. Aimed to push the global frontiers of knowledge, the Centre values its international nature, diversity and inclusion. ICMU is supported by the National Research Foundation of Ukraine (NRFU), a member of Science Europe.
Maryna Viazovska of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, laureate of the Fields Medal in July 2022 and member of the Coordination Committee, declared: “We will follow the models of other established institutions for fundamental research choosing those paths which will have maximal impact in the scientific community at this particular moment in our history.”
Organization of the new Centre
While the location of ICMU will be determined in consultation with the mathematical community, Ukrainian public bodies and partner organisations, and while scientists will be welcome physically in this Centre only once it will be safe to do so, the institution already has an official and legal existence, and will start organizing scientific events in partner institutions worldwide.
The foundation phase for the new Centre is currently led by the Centre’s Coordination Committee and an international Advisory Boardconsisting of outstanding mathematicians, including three Fields medal laureates. Peter Scholze from the University of Bonn, Director of the Max Planck Institute in Bonn and Fields medal Laureate, member of this Board, declared: “The Max Planck Institute for Mathematics has been and is home to many Ukrainian mathematicians, including Maryna Viazovska as a PhD student, and stands in strong solidarity. I wholly welcome and support the foundation of this new center in Ukraine, which will greatly enhance and revitalize the mathematical community.”
As an independent foundation, the Centre will be governed by a Board of Trustees consisting of the leading figures of its partner organisations and donors, as well as a Scientific Board which will have the prerogative of planning its scientific activities. During the meeting, the Centre’s Coordinating Committee announced that the French mathematician Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, former director of IHES and former president of the European Research Council, had been elected as the first member of the Board of Trustees. In this capacity, he will help the formation of this Board. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon commented: “I am very honoured by the invitation made to me by Ukrainian colleagues to try and contribute to the establishment of a flexible tool focused on helping the Ukrainian mathematical community to be actively engaged in frontline research in close partnership with other institutions in the world with similar goals.”
It was also announced during the meeting that the algorithmic trading company XTX Markets was the founding and principal donor of the International Centre for Mathematics in Ukraine. XTX Markets has committed up to €1m in matched funding to establish the Centre, enabling any donations or pledges in 2023 to be matched 100%. Alex Gerko, Founder and co-CEO of XTX Markets, commented: “The International Centre for Mathematics will help Ukrainian researchers to collaborate with the rest of the world and share the country’s outstanding tradition in mathematics. We look forward to the Centre opening its doors soon, in a free and peaceful Ukraine.”
 Those participants are: Vladimir Drinfeld, Hugo Duminil-Copin, Peter Scholze, Maryna Viazovska, Cédric Villani, Efim Zelmanov.
 The Coordination Committee is composed of: Oleksandra Antoniouk, Dmitri Finkelshtein, Andrey Gogolev, Kostiantyn Iusenko, Andrii Khrabustovskyi, Okleksiy Klurman, Volodymyr Nekrashevych, Pavlo Pylyavskyy, Dmytro Savchuk, Lyudmyla Turowska, Maryna Viazovska, Masha Vlasenko, Iryna Yehorchenko.
 The Advisory Board is composed of: Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, Vladimir Drinfeld, Pavel Etingof, Pavel Exner, Rostislav Grigorchuk, Volodymyr Mazorchuk, Adam Skalski, Peter Scholze, Marcelo Viana, Efim Zelmanov.