The EMS Executive Committee (EC) met 28–29 October at University of Lisbon (ULisboa), on the kind invitation of the Portuguese Mathematical Society (SPM). The assembled company was firstly warmly welcomed by Luís Carriço, director of the Faculty of Sciences at ULisboa, and by Fernando da Costa, former president of SPM (also in attendance, of course, as editor-in-chief of this Magazine). On Friday evening, the group was well-entertained at Restaurante Baia do Peixe on Lisbon city centre’s beautiful waterfront, at a meal kindly hosted by the current SPM president José Carlos Santos.
This EC meeting marked a moment of transition for the society, as the last to be chaired by Volker Mehrmann, whose term as president ends in December 2022, along with that of Vice President Betül Tanbuy, and Treasurer Mats Gyllenberg. Incoming president Jan Philip Solovej attended as a guest, as did incoming Treasurer Samuli Siltanen, and incoming EC member Victoria Gould. (Current Vice President Jorge Buescu’s term continues until 2024, and current EC member Beatrice Pelloni begins a new term as new Vice President in January 2023.)
With greetings and housekeeping finished, business began with reports from the EMS’s officers, starting with the chair Volker Mehrmann. Unfortunately, in recent months there has been severe turmoil within the society’s office, in part due to the absence of a central EMS team member. This caused correspondence to fall badly behind. The President reiterated the profound apologies he had made to several people who had been inconvenienced. The EC deeply regretted this situation and made decisions on increasing investment in the EMS office, to clear the remaining backlog and ensure such problems never recur.
The President updated the committee on his many recent activities, notably around two major new EMS initiatives: the EMS Young Academy (EMYA) and EMS Topical Activity Groups (TAGs), both of which feature later in this report. The President has also represented the EMS at several recent meetings and events, including the opening of the EU-MATHS-IN Opendesk1 on 20 September 2022. This new initiative aims to connect companies with industrial mathematicians and compile success stories.
Mats Gyllenberg then delivered his final report as EMS Treasurer after 10 years’ efficient management of the society’s accounts. He leaves the EMS in robust financial health, and the committee agreed on the need to increase spending on scientific activities.
The EMS Secretary Jiří Rákosník delivered his report, noting that his work has also been impeded by the problems in the EMS office. Nevertheless, he has made good use of the new EMS website and related infrastructure to assist EC decision-making on nominations for posts and other important society matters.
Outgoing EMS Vice President Betül Tanbay delivered her final report sketching her hopes and concerns for the society’s future. Having attended the general assembly of the International Mathematical Union (IMU), she hopes that the relationship between the two bodies can be deepened in future. She also discussed her recent activities, including regarding EMS participation in the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). She continues working as member of the General Board of the International Day of Mathematics (IDM, 14 March), whose theme for 2023 is “Mathematics for Everyone”.
Ongoing Vice President Jorge Buescu delivered the final of the officers’ reports. Having also attended the IMU General Assembly, he supported Betül Tanbay’s position. He also represented the EMS at the AMS-EMS-SMF Meeting at Grenoble (18–22 July 2022) which he reported as being a very well-organised and high-level event.
Membership and website
The EC was pleased to approve the application for institutional membership from the SwissMAP Research Station in Les Diablerets, Switzerland. The list of new applications for individual membership would be approved subsequently electronically.
Jorge Buescu summarised the current situation with the EMS webpage, which has reached an approximately steady state, after a total rebuild and relaunch in March 2021. All the main functions (news, jobs, applications, conferences) are now working, with the automated systems providing efficient support for the EMS Office. Nevertheless, some further finessing of the web interface is possible and work on such improvements will continue.
Scientific and society activities
Betül Tanbay reported that preparations for the first EMS-supported Balkan Mathematical Conference (BMC2) is going well. The meeting will be held at University of Pitești (Romania) on 1 July 2023.
The most recent and third Caucasian Mathematics Conference was held in 2019, in Rostov-on-Don (Russia). Unfortunately, given the current situation in the region, it was decided to postpone the next meeting until 2025. The committee agreed that this important and successful cycle of meetings should not be forgotten in future.
The 29th Nordic Congress of Mathematicians3, with the EMS, will be held at Aalborg University (Denmark) 3–7 July 2023.
The 9th European Congress of Mathematics (ECM4), the EMS’s flagship conference, will be held in Sevilla (Spain) 15–19 July 2024. Preparations are going well. The EC discussed the schedule for planning the subsequent 10th ECM in 2028, with some debate around the appropriate format for large-scale mathematical events in the current world. The bidding process for the conference will get underway shortly and will welcome proposals for innovations to the format.
Good progress has been made on setting up the inaugural EMS Young Academy (EMYA5). The new body is due to meet for the first time at the beginning of 2023. The EMYA will comprise 30 young mathematicians (from 3rd year of PhD study up to 5 years post PhD, at point of nomination) to be selected from a pool nominated by EMS member societies and institutions.
Incoming Vice President Beatrice Pelloni will lead the formation of new evaluation committee for EMS Topical Activity Groups (TAGs6). These new bodies should be inclusive and diverse, particularly regarding geographical region and gender and can apply for EMS funding via the Meetings Committee. They will be invited to nominate candidates for EMS committees and speakers for conferences, and to plan and organise applications to European funding programs.
The EC agreed that in the years between biennial Council meetings, the annual meeting of Presidents of EMS members societies will take place online rather than in person.
Following recommendations from the EMS Meetings Committee, the EC agreed to provide financial support to several other scientific meetings, summer schools, and events.
Standing committees and projects
The EC considered each of the EMS’s standing committees in turn, nominating new members to replace those who have reached the end of their terms, each of whom leaves with the EMS’s sincere thanks. Four committee chairs will cease their roles at the end of 2022: Sophie Dabo of the Committee for Developing Countries (CDC), Stanislaw Janeczko of the European Solidarity Committee, Roberto Natalini of the Committee for Raising Public Awareness of Mathematics (RPA), and Alessandra Celletti of the Committee for Women in Mathematics (WiM). The EC expressed its great gratitude to each of them for all their excellent work. From January 2023 Bengt-Ove Turesson will take over as Chair for the CDC, Karine Chemla for the European Solidarity Committee, Katie Chicot for the RPA Committee, and Mikaela Iacobelli for WiM.
Two vice-chairs of the Education Committee, Gregory Makrides and Tinne Hoff Kjeldsen, joined the meeting remotely as guests to discuss the mission and objectives of that committee. Reports from all ten of the EMS’s standing committees were considered: the Committee for Applications and Interdisciplinary Relations (CAIR), CDC, Education, ERCOM (Scientific Directors of European Research Centres in the Mathematical Sciences), Ethics, European Solidarity, Meetings, Publishing and Electronic Dissemination (PED), RPA, and WiM. These bodies are responsible for much of the EMS’s work, and the society is grateful for the hard work of all the committee members.
The EC discussed the European Digital Mathematical Library (EuDML), whose General Assembly was held recently. The President reminded the committee of the EuDML’s importance as a long-term project.
The committee considered the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). The President will take part in the EOSC Symposium in Prague in November 2022, where he will deliver a presentation on how mathematics should fit into this project.
Publishing and publicity
EMS Publicity Officer Richard Elwes, in attendance as a guest, delivered a report on his activities, including running the society’s social media channels. As of October 2022, the EMS has over 11,000 followers on Twitter7, over 5,000 on Facebook8, and over 100 on the newly added LinkedIn page9.
Managing director André Gaul of EMS Press attended the meeting remotely as a guest and presented his report. The Subscribe to Open (S2O) model is working well; 21 journals are now using the S2O model for 2023 (compared to 17 in 2022). The decision on whether these journals flip to Open Access for 2023 will be made by end of January and will depend on subscription numbers. EMS Press currently publishes around 10 books per year. Proceedings of the ICM (around 6,000 pages) and proceedings of the ECM are in preparation. The latest addition the portfolio is Memoirs of the EMS (MEMS), which is proving a very successful project. EMS Press also plays a critical role in providing IT support to the EMS. The EC expressed its ongoing gratitude for this.
The editor-in-chief of the EMS Magazine Fernando da Costa, in attendance as a guest (and local organiser), reported on the Magazine. There is now a queue of contributions for future issues, a situation the editorial team had been working towards. Once the EMYA is set up, a renewed Young Mathematicians Column will be launched.
The committee also discussed the EMS Digest. Unfortunately, due the problems in the office, the September 2022 issue was never emailed out, although it was released online. With long-standing editor Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel stepping down at the end of this 2022, a new editor will be needed. She leaves this role with the sincere thanks of the EMS.
Funding, political, and scientific organisations
The EC discussed EMS nominations for several scientific panels and awards. It also considered the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA10), a global coalition of organisations interested in research funding, who have drafted an agreement establishing a common direction for research assessment reform. The EC agreed that the EMS should sign this agreement.
The committee discussed developments at the European Research Council (ERC), where mathematics is struggling to win funding. The EC agreed that the EMS should continue liaising with the ERC and should continue to encourage more and stronger applications.
The meeting closed with further expressions of thanks: firstly, to ULisboa and SPM and their local representatives for hosting this meeting in such fine and hospitable style. Outgoing President Volker Mehrmann, Vice President Betül Tanbuy, and Treasurer Mats Gyllenberg were presented with gifts to express the society’s deep appreciation for their dedication to the European mathematical community over the last four years. The incoming President Jan Philip Solovej reiterated these words of gratitude, observing that recent years have been uniquely challenging for several reasons (notably COVID and a major cyberattack on the EMS webpage), and that in these circumstances the outgoing officers’ list of achievements (e.g., securing the EMS’s financial position, setting up the new publishing house EMS Press, inaugurating EMYA) is a remarkable testament to their vision and commitment to the cause of European mathematics.
Cite this article
Richard Elwes, Report from the Executive Committee meeting in Lisbon, 28–29 October 2022. Eur. Math. Soc. Mag. 127 (2023), pp. 67–70DOI 10.4171/MAG/121