Clay Mathematics Institute

Dedicated to increasing and disseminating mathematical knowledge

Financial and Other Policies

These policies set out the default position for individuals supported by CMI and for event organizers. It is possible in some cases to allow exceptions to the general provisions below. See the final section.

The policies may be revised from time to time at the sole discretion of CMI.

Workshops, Summer Schools, and Conferences

The IRS regulations governing CMI’s tax-exempt status in the USA require it to have ‘significant involvement’ in the activities that it funds.  CMI does not make grants and support from CMI should not be described as a grant.

Workshops, summer schools, and conferences may be 

  • exclusively organized and funded by CMI, or 
  • run in equal partnership with other organizations, or 
  • run by other organizations with CMI ‘enhancement’. 

In the first case, the organizers act on behalf of CMI, not of their home institutions.  This must be reflected in publicity for the event.  In the second, CMI must be represented on the organizing committee, the partnership must be set up before planning begins, and CMI must be involved in all decisions, particularly in the selection of speakers.  

In the third case, CMI will still be a partner in the event, albeit a minority partner, but will typically become involved at a later stage, when it is clear that the event is already financially viable.  Its involvement in the organization will focus on the use of its own funds.   'Significant involvement' will mean, at a minimum, funding directly some of the key speakers. Funded speakers should be named in proposals, and the corresponding costs calculated on an individual basis. Organizers may include reserves for the speakers, but CMI will not otherwise permit the use of funds allocated for purposes not stated in the proposal and offer letter, except in very exceptional circumstances.

CMI can also fund participation of junior participants (students and early career researchers), but only when it has established significant involvement in other ways.  Junior participants need not be named in proposals, and their costs can be estimated.  However, a competitive selection process must be agreed in advance with CMI and CMI must be involved in selection, not simply asked to approve selections made by the organizers. The final list must be approved by CMI before the start of the event. ‘Early career’ means ‘within five years of PhD and not holding a tenured or tenure-track position’, with appropriate allowance for career breaks.

CMI will not cover the cost of meals except for (i) breakfast where it is included with hotel accommodation and (ii) a contribution to the consolidated costs of meals provided for all participants collectively and when eating together is an integral part of the event. CMI will not contribute to the cost of conference dinners except in the case of events for which it is principal organizer.

Organizers must observe the conditions in the CMI’s offer letter.  In particular partnership with the CMI must be acknowledged on the event website and in other documentation.  The appropriate form of the acknowledgement is “Organized in partnership with the Clay Mathematics Institute”.  It is not enough merely to list CMI amongst sponsors or to include the CMI logo on documentation.  ‘Funded by...’ or ‘supported by...’ are not acceptable alternatives because they can be read as implying that CMI is doing no more than providing financial support without other significant involvement.

In all cases, proposals must be approved by the CMI’s Scientific Advisory Board, and the budget must be approved in advance by the President and also, in the case of expenditure over $10,000, by the Board of Directors.  

CMI will not pay conference registration charges nor contribute to the organizers’ administrative costs. Payments will be made directly to individuals in response to claims for reimbursement, except that accommodation or a contribution to collective meal costs can be covered by direct payment of invoices from suppliers where the organizers have negotiated a contract covering a whole group of participants.

Organizers are expected to verify the mathematical standing of all participants who are not already known to them, for example by examining their publication record or, in the case of students, by obtaining supporting letters from their supervisors. 

Travel and Accommodation

Travel and visa costs must be met by the traveler.  When costs are not met directly by CMI, travelers must also pay for their accommodation. Claims for reimbursement must be within budgetary limits agreed in advance and must be submitted to CMI as directed. 

Travelers should exercise diligence to keep down costs, by buying economy class tickets and by timing their journeys to minimize the total cost of travel and accommodation.  Individuals using higher travel classes should base their claims on the advertised cost had they traveled at the same times in economy class. Claims must be supported by receipts or other appropriate documentation. Travel by car will be reimbursed at the mileage rate set by the IRS in the USA.

CMI can meet the basic cost of accommodation (including breakfast) and internet access in hotels, within pre-agreed limits.  It will not accept claims for other individual meals, laundry, minibar, movie rental and so on; nor will CMI meet costs incurred by associates of the traveler, unless approved in advance under the CMI’s childcare policy or as an exception in the case of special needs.

Research Expenses

CMI provides funds to support the research of Research Fellows and some others.   Subject to any special conditions in individual cases, there is considerable flexibility in how they can be used.

Expenditure from research funds and the means of payment, whether direct payment by CMI or reimbursement to the individual, must be approved in advance in each case.  

There are constraints arising from CMI’s status as an operating foundation on the extent to which CMI funds can be used to support research indirectly; for example, they cannot be used to cover the cost of a research assistant employed by a university.

Requests for reimbursements supported by receipts or other appropriate documentation must be submitted to CMI as directed.

Approval for the reimbursement of the cost of equipment will not be given after or towards the end of the period for which the funds have been made available.  All equipment purchased with CMI funds remains the property of CMI and should be returned at the end of employment by CMI or at the conclusion of a research project, although CMI will not normally request the return of equipment more than three years old.

CMI does not reimburse relocation costs.  Where travel has more than one purpose, for example for a vacation combined with attendance at a conference, CMI may only reimburse a proportion of the cost.


Papers based on research supported by CMI should include an acknowledgement of CMI’s support.  

Preprints of such papers should be posted on the arXiv and a link sent to CMI (please consult CMI if this policy would cause difficulties in any particular case).

Visas and Right to Work

Research Fellows and others employed by CMI must be able to produce documentation to demonstrate their right to work in the country in which they are based.  CMI will if necessary assist them in acquiring appropriate visas.

Some countries do not permit direct employment by a foreign entity.  CMI does not permit indirect employment through another organization.  It will not set up subsidiary corporations to get around this problem, nor in such cases will it issue contracts that are likely to be interpreted by the relevant authorities as employment contracts, even when they are not described as such.

Because CMI is a US entity, employees of CMI should be aware that if they visit the USA, even for a short period, they will be regarded as ‘employed in the USA’.  Non-citizens or those who do not hold Green Cards are likely to need H-1B visas or visas that similarly give a right to work.

Often immigration authorities will require a visa that bestows a right to work even if the activities to be undertaken are unremunerated (for example, TAs doing unpaid work at a summer school).


CMI can contribute to reasonable costs of childcare for those attending events that it is funding, subject to the following conditions:

  • CMI will only contribute to costs incurred by individuals whom CMI is supporting and only in cases in which there is no reasonable alternative.
  • CMI will not contribute to general childcare provision at an event.
  • CMI funds can only be used to meet specific itemized costs that are clearly additional to the day-to-day expenses that parents must cover in any case.
  • Childcare funding is not available to pay what would in effect be a salary supplement for one of CMI's employees.

In all cases, the expenditure must be approved in advance of the event. Whatever is requested in a particular case should not be out of proportion to the total funds requested for an event.

Exceptions and Special Needs

In cases in which the application of these policies would cause unreasonable difficulty, exceptions can be requested from the President or the Chief Administrative Officer by writing to In particular CMI will consider lifting the restriction to economy class travel or allowing the costs of an accompanying person for those with special needs. All such exceptions must be approved in advance.

Revised May 2018