SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE

of the French-Russian Poncelet laboratory in Moscow

consisting of V.Buchstaber (Steklov and MSU), L.Farinas del Cerro (CNRS-STIC), Y.Ilyashenko (IUM, MSU, and Steklov), C.Kassel (CNRS-IRMA), C.Peskine (CNRS-SPM), V.Vassiliev (RAS, Steklov, and IUM)

as a result of its inspection of the Poncelet laboratory on January 24, 2005

CONCLUDES:

The Poncelet Laboratory was created in March 2002 by an Agreement between the CNRS and the IUM in order

(i) to send young French researchers for long-term stays in Moscow to work with Russian scientists, and, at the same time, to provide a meeting place for other types of cooperation joint seminars, international conferences, short term exchanges;

(ii) to develop interdisciplinary connections between mathematics, computer science, and physics, as well as within these subjects.

In the two and a half years of its functioning, the Laboratory has largely succeeded in achieving these objectives. It is now strongly on its feet, has a sound financial situation, it has successfully used the help of the French embassy in Moscow, French and Russian grant competitions, support of IITP, Steklov and CEMI, and other sources to achieve its goals. Its permanent collaborators have obtained impressive research results, mostly of interdisciplinary nature. Moreover, its influence has gone far beyond that of its total scientific achievements: the five associated research groups (financed by the RFBR), the six international conferences organised by the lab, the short-term visits of over 60 French researchers to Moscow and roughly the same number of Russian ones to France show that the Poncelet Laboratory has indeed become the meeting place intended by its creators.

Nevertheless, much remains to be done in order that the laboratory fully realize its scientific and organizational potential.

First of all, the question of the visibility of the Laboratory must be addressed with much greater emphasis. This means, in particular, that greater efforts should be made to publicise it, especially in France (enticing the best young French researchers to apply for positions in the lab), that the conferences organized by the lab be advertized more widely (not only on the laboratory web site, but also via the SMF and by other means), that the web site itself be considerably enhanced and reorganized to make it more attractive and readable. A booklet describing the Laboratory could be published and widely circulated in scientific circles, the mass media be solicited to inform of the Laboratory's role and activities to a wider public. The computer science activity of the lab should be more emphasized. The joint activity with the RAS institutions should be further developped and better advertised.

Another important matter is the identification of the long term research projects carried out by the lab. They should be clearly defined and widely advertised, many more Russian scientists could become permanent collaborators of the lab in the framework of these projects, and this would in turn make the lab more attractive to French researchers.

Other activities that would help the Laboratory realize its potential include: the more efficient involvement of the RAS (in particular via grants from its Mathematics Section) and the three associated academic institutes in supporting the lab; further involvement of the RFBR; regularly applying for EU grants, in particular in the framework of Euronet; stronger links of the lab with the CNRS-IUM jumelage program (e.g. by inviting participants in the program to give talks at the lab seminar upon their return to Moscow); the creation of a unified web site (possibly in cooperation with the MMS and Steklov) informing on all the talks taking place at different seminars in Moscow.

All this would considerably enhance the development of the Poncelet Laboratory and increase its role in French-Russian scientific cooperation.

The Committee highly appreciates the work done by Alexei Sossinsky, the first director of the Laboratory.