ECMath – Einstein Center for Mathematics Berlin: The common platform for excellent mathematics in Berlin
The Einstein Center for Mathematics Berlin (ECMath) was founded in 2014. It is supported by the Einstein Foundation Berlin, by the three universities Freie Universität Berlin (FUB), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HUB), and Technische Universität Berlin (TUB) and by the two research institutes Weierstrass Institute for Applied Analysis and Stochastics (WIAS) and Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB).
The main goals of ECMath are to support mathematical research in selected innovation areas and to establish and strengthen a network structure of excellent joint initiatives in Berlin.
Presently, ECMath includes, as founding members, the Research Center Matheon, the Berlin Mathematical School (BMS), the German Center for Teacher Education in Mathematics (DZLM), and, as additional members, the Research Campus Modal, the DFG Collaborative Research Centers (CRCs) 647, 1114, and Transregional Research Centers (TRs) 109, 154.
Through its versatile activities, ECMath aims at providing support for application-oriented basic research within Matheon, thus, targeting mathematics for innovation in key applications. Another focus of ECMath is knowledge transfer from science to industry.
By the conception of “Mathematics as a Whole”, it fosters a comprehensive approach to mathematics and its applications through the training of young scientists and early-career students. Within this activity, ECMath provides attractive stipends for extraordinarily well-qualified BMS students, and it furthers and supports school activities of the DZLM.
Short innovation cycles, increasing complexity of technological systems, and growing demands on the quality of industrial products have led to increasing economic relevance of modelling, simulation, and optimization techniques as emerging from basic mathematical research in various fields like, e.g., discrete mathematics, numerical analysis, or applied and stochastic analysis.
ECMath is funding a considerable more than 30 projects in Matheon that conduct application-driven basic mathematical research in
the following four Innovation Areas:
- Mathematics in Clinical Research and Health Car
- Mathematics for Metropolitan Infrastructures
- Mathematics in Optical Technologies
- Mathematics for Sustainable Energies
In cooperation with ECMath, the Research Campus MODAL has created a transfer company, the corporation MODAL AG, that acts as a commercial basis between basic research in academic institutions, and research and development in industry. The MODAL AG allows offering services to industrial partners that the associated research institutions cannot or do not provide, e.g. professional software development or long-term maintenance of software products. It supports researchers of the mathematics institutes of FUB, HUB, TUB, and of the research institutes WIAS and ZIB regarding industrial cooperation where such services are concerned. In particular, MODAL AG allows transferring industrial research projects that were successfully incubated in the framework of Matheon into a commercial setting. According to its statutes the MODAL AG will invest profits resulting from such projects back into its academic environment and thus helps to sustain industry related mathematical research.
MATHEMATICS AS A WHOLE
To perform excellent innovative research, highly educated young researchers are needed. The formation of the next generation of scientists starts with the pre-school education. Thus, a crucial mission of the Berlin mathematical community is to view the education in mathematics as a whole, beginning with the pre-school education, continuing with the education in schools and in Bachelor/Master programs up to a possible PhD education, and beyond.
In order to cover all phases in the education chain and to enable ourselves to master this challenge in a conceptual way, a close cooperation between Matheon, the Berlin Mathematical School (BMS), and the German Center for Teacher Education in Mathematics (DZLM), as well as a mutual integration of respective activities within ECMath is of crucial importance.
While BMS is offering graduate education starting at Bachelor or Master level and a number of distinguished postdoc positions, DZLM promotes teacher education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), in particular with the emphasis to increase the number of female (teacher) students in the STEM fields.
Ralf Kornhuber, Chair ECMath, FU Berlin