The central instrument for attracting talented young mathematicians to combinatorics and its synergies and to facilitate network-building across academic generations is the Summer of Combinatorics (SoC) initiative within the priority program. Inspired by the well-established Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) in the US and the German Research Internships in Science and Engineering (DAAD-RISE), SoCs will guide advanced undergraduates to hands-on research in combinatorics and its applications.
A SoC gives an introduction to a particular area of combinatorics followed by work on research projects. Research is done in-person in teams for a period of 4-8 weeks at the hosting instituion or at a separate location. The introduction to the topic is in the form of lectures or reading courses and can also be done online with accompanying virtual meetings. Throughout, supervision and support is provided by professors, postdocs, and PhD students of the SPP. Research projects can come from the whole spectrum of the priority program and are encouraged to incorporate innovative aspects (including the generation and analysis of research data).
SoCs are aimed at Master-level students as well as promising Bachelor students. Members of the priority program can apply for the yearly SoCs. The planning and execution of an SoC is supported by members of program committee, who have considerable experience in the organization of workshops, summer schools, and in incorporating undergraduates in research projects. Postdocs and PhD students of the SPP are encouraged to participate in SoCs as team mentors. This strengthens ties within the SPP as well as provides contacts to prospective generations of researchers. The selection of participants will take into consideration academic as well as diversity and social aspects.
We plan to support 1-4 SoCs per year with a total of 20 participants. Participants will receive accommodation and travel support as well as per diem through stipends. A sufficiently high per diem should enable students to participate without financial losses (by, for example, not being able to take summer jobs).
REUs in the US are very successful (see, for example, the University of Minnesota REU program) and participation is competitive. Our goal is to establish SoCs as a best practice undergraduate-research program within combinatorics and beyond.