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The National Science Foundation, or NSF, has renewed funding for the U.S.-Africa Collaborative Research Network, or CRN, in mathematical sciences with $250,000 for another three years.

The network aims to improve the human infrastructure in mathematical sciences in both the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa, especially among underrepresented groups, with hopes of creating high quality, long-term U.S.-Africa research partnerships among researchers from diverse backgrounds. Currently, the CRN consists of 82 research mathematicians from 46 colleges and universities and research laboratories, centers and institutes, forming research groups in pure Mathematics and applied Mathematics. Each research group consists of U.S. and African senior research mathematicians, early career faculty, students and post-doctoral researchers.

The CRN builds on the successful Masamu Program that was established in 2010 with the support of the Southern Africa Mathematical Sciences Association, or SAMSA, and the NSF. A key component of the Masamu Program is the 10 day Masamu Advanced Study Institute, or MASI, and workshop series, which provides a platform for collaboration by allowing participants to meet face-to-face, work on research problems, plan research activities for the subsequent year and present their research findings at the three-day international SAMSA research conference held during Thanksgiving week each year.

Other activities include research workshops, career development workshops, high performance computing workshops, STEM education workshops, department heads and chairs and senior research scientists workshops, colloquia, faculty exchange and study abroad programs.

This year’s MASI and SAMSA conference were originally scheduled for November 2020 in Maputo, Mozambique, but will now be held virtually due to COVID-19. They are planned to be held face-to-face in Mozambique in 2021.

CRN, Masamu Program and MASI are run by Auburn’s Office of Special Projects and Initiatives. Overtoun Jenda, assistant provost for special projects and initiatives and professor of mathematics at Auburn, is the principal investigator on this grant. Pete Johnson and Ash Abebe, professors in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics serve as co-principal investigators.

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