UWO/Fields Proposal Submission
The process The University of Western Ontario is a principal sponsoring
university for The Fields
The money paid by the six principal sponsoring universities to maintain their
level of membership at Fields is awarded on a competitive basis for conferences
and programs which can be held either at the Institute or at a participating
UWO researchers in the computational sciences have a long history of
effective participation in Fields-supported projects. This document is designed
to show how this process works, and how to use it to full advantage.
The first thing to know is that there is a local committee. Proposals, or
concepts for proposals, should be submitted by e-mail to the UWO/Fields
This committee provides advice, approves proposals
locally and oversees their submission to the Fields Institute for final
approval. The key to positive decisions at all levels is excellence.
Conference proposals Conference proposals can be for 1-2 day meetings,
up to events lasting two weeks.
You could be asked to supply other information later: see www.fields.toronto.edu/proposals.
- There should be a preamble which gives a rationale for the meeting.
- List the members of the organizing committee for the proposed meeting,
with affiliations and contact information.
- List the proposed main (i.e.. one-hour) speakers, with affiliations.
- There must be a realistic budget, with a specific dollar-value request to
Fields has deadlines of February 15 and September 15 for conference proposals.
They are willing to entertain proposals at other times, but decisions may be
deferred to one of these two dates in some cases. As a general rule, conference
proposals should be submitted at least eight months in advance of the meeting.
Beyond the basics:
Try to get NSF (or other)
support. American colleagues could submit an NSF proposal for 10-15K US to
support the expenses of junior American researchers, with some expectation of
success. If such a proposal is either in submission or planned, then the Fields
proposal will be much more likely to succeed.
- If there are other proposed sources of support (eg. NSF), Fields will want
to know about them, together with names of Principal Investigators for these
- Fields does not support closed meetings. The meeting must be open and of
interest to researchers at all stages of their careers.
- Part of the budget should be allocated for supporting the expenses of
junior researchers. Training is an important Fields mandate.
- Fields only supports NSERC-eligible expenses, such as travel and
accomodation for researchers. The Institute usually requires that other
expenses, like entertainment, room rental, cleaning, etc., be paid from local
- It is a good idea to show in your budget that some local research grant
money is committed to the meeting.
- For a 4-5 day international meeting, 20-25K is a good ballpark for a
Fields request. A 3-page proposal suffices.
Fields writes letters of support for NSF proposals, in collaboration with
conference or program organizers.
Programs Program proposals are for one month of activity, or longer.
We've had one of these at UWO: a one-month program on Applied Homotopy Theory
was held in September, 2003. We need more.
Many of the same guidelines for conferences apply to programs.
- The rationale, including timeliness and international importance of the
program, must be much more carefully argued.
- Training is much more important: there should be several graduate courses
of varying length, given by leading researchers.
- There should be several conferences (at least 2 per six month period)
embedded in the program.
- Institutional collaborations (eg. Fields/Perimeter, Fields/MSRI) are
persuasive for longer programs.
- Multiple sources of support (eg. NSF, Clay Institute, European Community
funds) should be sought.
These programs can be large undertakings, and are appropriately supported.
Recently observed funding levels range from 40K for a one-month "mini-program"
to 600K for a full year program.
Programs of 1-3 months in length are quite appropriate for the UWO campus.
How to start:
The proposal process for a longer Fields program begins with a 1-2 page
Letter of Intent, submitted 2-3 years in advance. A more detailed
proposal would follow, if the Letter of Intent attracts the interest of the
Scientific Advisory Panel at Fields. The Institute has two deadlines (March 15
and Aug. 31) for these letters.
Here is what should be in the Letter of Intent:
One-month programs do not require so much lead time, but it is
still best to submit a Letter of Intent for such a program well in advance.
- Title of program
- Organizers, and contact information for lead organizer
- Description of topic and itemization of some key activities
- Argument about why such a program should be run
- Preferred dates, including whether or not this is a particularly opportune