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Volunteer Lecturer Program

The Volunteer Lecturer Program (VLP) of the IMU Commission for Developing Countries was established in 2008 by the International Mathematical Union (IMU) and the United States National Committee for Mathematics (USNCM), an IMU adhering body.

It is a program to foster research and international cooperation between mathematicians in developing countries and the international mathematical community, by offering financial assistance to universities in developing countries to host a volunteer lecturer for a 3-4-week intensive course. The course given by the volunteer should be part of a regular mathematics undergraduate or master degree program at the hosting university, in subjects where the applicant university could have a lack of expertise. Only host institutions can apply for the grant in the VLP.

This program is partially funded by the American Mathematical Society and the Niels Henrik Abel Board (Norway).


    The next deadlines for Mathematics Insitutions in developing countries to apply for participation in the program are:

    • September 1, 2021 for lectures to be held between January 1, 2022 and January 1, 2024
    • December 1, 2021 for lectures to be held between April 1, 2022 and April 1, 2024
    • March 1, 2022 for lectures to be held between July 1, 2022 and July 1, 2024
    • June 1, 2022 for lectures to be held between October 1, 2022 and October 1, 2024

    Program Outline for Universities in Developing Countries


    IMU/ CDC welcomes applications by universities and mathematics degree programs in the developing world that are in need of, and can provide the necessary conditions for productive collaboration in the teaching of advanced mathematics. We seek universities interested to host a lecturer for intensive 3-4 week mathematics courses, at the advanced undergraduate or master level. The course given by the volunteer should be part of a regular mathematics undergraduate or master degree program at the hosting university.

    Funding can cover the following costs of the Volunteer Lecturer up to 4,400 EUR:

    • Travel expense of the lecturer (Economic flight, bus, train cost)
    • Visa, travel health insurance, vaccination for the lecturer
    • Accommodation (we suggest a guest house if possible)
    • Basic living expenses of the lecturer during the time of the course. (These costs include local transportation)

    Additionally, the grant can support

    • Preparation of course material (printing, photocopying, books etc. up to 1.000 EUR per course and volunteer (receipts necessary)
    • Possible expenses for the acquisition of material or use of services to conduct lectures entirely or partially in the online format up to 2.000 EUR.

    However no salary is paid to the lecturer. No assistant can be paid either.

    Role and Requirements for the host university

    The course should be

    • in a university in a developing country (for a list of the CDC definition for developing countries please click here)
    • an intensive 3-4 week course in mathematics for students of a mathematics degree
    • include examinations
    • be an integral component of a regular mathematics degree program at the host university
    • Substantial course enrollment (15-20 students) has to be guaranteed.

    The host university decides the course content and guides the volunteer towards desired syllabus.

    • schedule the course and help the volunteer lecturer in preparing the course syllabus and assists when necessary during the course
    • coordinate living arrangements and local transportation for the volunteer lecturer
    • prepare the students for the course beforehand
    • help with student mentoring and assessment and take care of any necessary follow up.

    The Host Institution is also required to fill out a report form after the visit of the volunteer.

    When warranted, continuing participation in the VLP by a single university in the developing world is encouraged.

    List and Database of Volunteers

    The CDC maintains the Volunteer Lecturer Database, a database of the mathematicians interested in volunteering. It includes the mathematician's curriculum vitae (CV), the areas of focus in mathematics in which they are prepared to teach, language abilities, as well as previous experience.

    You need to log in here, to see the Volunteer Lecturer Database. If you are not yet registered on the IMU website, please register first here.

    Lecturers interested to participate in the program, should read the guidelines for lecturers and register here.

    If you experience problems, please contact