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Top award for science promotion goes to mathematics and computing centre for outreach

Centre makes math fun for students and provides teachers with enriched professional development

June 2, 2015 – Waterloo, Ontario

The University of Waterloo’s Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) has been named the winner of this year’s NSERC Award for Science Promotion―Group Category. Led by Ian VanderBurgh, the organization, which is one of Canada’s longest-established science promotion groups, will receive $25,000 for future science promotion activities.

Created by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the award honours groups that are inspirational in promoting science and engineering to the general public. Nominated by their peers across Canada, the winners stand out for their exceptional success in promoting science and engineering to students and teachers.

The Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing is Canada’s largest and most recognized outreach organization in mathematics and computer science. The announcement celebrates the Centre’s accomplishment and recognizes the work of volunteers. The Centre’s signature initiative is its Canada-wide mathematics and computing contests, which have been written by millions of Canadian students over the last half century.

Quick Facts

  • The Centre’s yearly mathematics and computer science competitions engage students from around the world in problem-solving contests. In 2013-14, more than 200,000 students registered for the contests at almost 3,000 schools in Canada and 65 other countries.
  • The Centre is Canada’s largest and best known outreach organization for math and computer science promotion.
  • Working with math teachers and educators is also a key endeavour of the CEMC. The online Master of Mathematics for Teachers program, launched in 2010, provides secondary school or college level teachers with an opportunity to continue their education and improves their knowledge and understanding of the subject matter they teach.
  • The Centre also encourages a broader interest in math and computer science through free online learning materials for the general public. In 2013-14, these web resources received almost five million page views.


“Under our government’s updated Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy, a key priority is ensuring Canada has highly qualified people with skills that meet the demands of the modern economy. Young Canadians who have a passion for science and math can translate this passion into rewarding, well-paying careers later on in life. I would therefore like to congratulate Dr. Ian VanderBurgh and the CEMC on being recognized for their outstanding efforts with the NSERC Award for Science Promotion.”
–The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology)

“Our government understands that Canadian businesses, universities and colleges require young Canadians with strong skill sets in sciences, technology, engineering and math to be successful going forward. The University of Waterloo’s fun and engaging math and computer science activities are a great example of the kind of initiatives we need to prepare our youth for careers in the 21st century.”
–Peter Braid, Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Kitchener—Waterloo

“Scientists and engineers rightfully pride themselves on their rigorous, evidence-based search for the facts, ever ready to test a hypothesis in the pursuit of new knowledge. Sharing this passion with the community at large is a critically important part of our job, and I congratulate Dr. Ian VanderBurgh and the CEMC for their longstanding commitment and dedicated efforts to bring math and computer science to broader audiences, and to youth especially.”
–B. Mario Pinto, President, NSERC

“Mathematics and computer science play an integral part in virtually all aspects of life in the twenty-first century. The CEMC is honoured to work with thousands of outstanding and enthusiastic teachers each year, across the country and around the world, towards the common goals of igniting passion for and ability in these disciplines. We are thrilled to be recognized with this award.”
–Ian VanderBurgh, Director, CEMC

Associated Links

The NSERC Awards for Science Promotion


NSERC is the primary funding agency supporting Canada’s science and engineering research community. The agency supports almost 30,000 post-secondary students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding approximately 12,000 professors every year and fosters innovation by working with over 3,000 Canadian companies that are participating and investing in post-secondary research projects.


Martin Leroux
Media and Public Affairs Officer
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Tel.: 613-943-7618