Donald Estep


There is a dramatic national trend towards increased emphasis on multidisciplinary research in science and engineering in which mathematics and statistics plays a central role. The reason is that science and engineering research increasingly involves mathematical and statistical hurdles that require the active engagement of mathematicians and statisticians in order to achieve success. One sign of this trend is the large numbers of universities that are establishing significant interdisciplinary programs that involve mathematics and statistics. Another is that federal funding is shifting dramatically towards multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary projects that include a significant mathematical or statistical component. This is the research and funding landscape in which CSU will be competing in the future.


The Center for Interdisciplinary Mathematics and Statistics (CIMS) focuses on initializing and facilitating interdisciplinary projects that require new advances in mathematics and/or statistics as an inherent part of success. It provides support for faculty that strive to become lead investigators for interdisciplinary research involving mathematics and statistics. It also acts as a clearinghouse and advising source for faculty and administrators wishing to investigate possibilities in new interdisciplinary areas. CIMS does not support well-established projects or projects already supported by external funding.


The fundamental goal of CIMS activities is to provide faculty with the support needed to overcome the significant barriers associated with interdisciplinary research. Specific goals include:


Promoting interdisciplinary research and education through organization and infrastructure support;


Providing support and advice for the initialization of new interdisciplinary research and education projects involving mathematics and statistics;


Organizing the substantial resources needed to formulate competitive proposals for large interdisciplinary opportunities involving numerous personnel and large budgets.


These goals and activities fit directly in the University mission and strategic goals. In particular, CIMS is ideally placed to leverage modest institutional investment through initialization of interdisciplinary research projects and submission of large scale external proposals. It performs this role using specific activities that have proved to be effective. There is significant discussion about how CIMS can most effectively support a particular interdisciplinary project that is proposed for support. CIMS has supported new interdisciplinary interactions by:


Providing support for students and postdocs to conduct preliminary research needed to field a competitive interdisciplinary proposal


Providing support for faculty release time for faculty preparing large scale proposals


Providing support for faculty to take internal sabbaticals and/or teach courses in another department


Providing support for administration needed to put together large proposals


Organizing workshops


Providing support to underwrite substantial research in an area of specific need on campus for which there is no clear funding avenue


Providing expert opinion on formulating the mathematical and statistical components of scientific and engineering research and provide links to faculty with the necessary skill and brokering contacts outside CSU when necessary


We emphasize that CIMS activities are successful because they are guided by the deep experience with interdisciplinary projects of the core group of faculty, who possess direct experience with the barriers facing interdisciplinary research and education activities. We measure success by published research, career paths of affected students and postdocs, proposal submissions, and proposal award rates.


Founded in 2006, CIMS has been a Program of Research and Scholarly Excellence since 2008.