Generic information on BIRS

The Pacific Institute for Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) hosts workshops in the Oberwolfach/Luminy style in it's Banff International Research Station (BIRS). Meetings are funded through NSERC and NSF, and participants receive free accommodation and meals, but are responsible for their own travel expenses. BIRS is situated in Banff national park, a United Nations UNSECO world heritage site in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

A BIRS workshop allows you and your colleagues to exchange the latest and most important information in your field in an inspiring and stress-free setting. We encourage you to schedule some unstructured time for brainstorming and discussion. BIRS discourages the notion that every participant should be invited to speak.

The schedule or scientific programme is at the discretion of the organizing committee. BIRS has a 40-seat lecture hall, several breakout rooms, and a 5-metre magnetic wall for poster sessions. We would be happy to post the scientific programme on the workshop webpage and/or produce hard copies for distribution at your meeting.

BIRS 5-day workshops begin on Sunday morning (participants arrive Saturday afternoon or evening) and must end by 3 p.m. on Thursday. Some participants will leave on Thursday morning in order to catch flights. Thursday morning would be a good time to schedule some unstructured discussions.

Coffee breaks are provided in Corbett Hall (morning break - starts no earlier than 10 a.m.; afternoon break - ends no later than 4 p.m.). Breakfast is 7-9 a.m. in Corbett Hall. Lunch is from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. and dinner 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. in the Banff Centre Dining Hall. You should schedule lunch and dinner breaks of about an hour each within these times.

In the Oberwolfach/Luminy tradition, you may wish to take one afternoon for exploring the local area. Banff has many wonderful outdoor activities and spectacular scenery.


BIRS is located at the Banff Centre in Banff, Alberta, Canada. The conference facility (Max Bell Building) adjoins the accommodation (Corbett Hall). Please see for a full description.

Each guest room has a computer terminal and high speed access to the internet. There will be wireless access points in some common areas.

The library at BIRS is in its infancy and has a few books, but not many. We provide online access to MathSciNet to our participants. Participants who have online services at their home institutions are encouraged to establish proxy accounts which will allow them journal access from BIRS.

The Banff Centre offers an arts/music library which has a good collection of sheet music as well as recorded music and video material. BIRS participants are welcome to use this library.


Participants of BIRS programmes are housed in Corbett Hall at the Banff Centre. This facility is reserved for BIRS only. There is a separate bedroom for each participant, though most rooms have a shared bathroom with one other participant. Each room is equipped with a queen size bed, dresser, desk and computer terminal.

Participants are permitted to invite one adult guest (16 years of age or older). There is a small charge to the participant for this service.

Participants are expected to arrive on Saturday afternoon or evening (check in is at 4pm) and to depart Thursday afternoon (checkout is noon). Accommodation and meals are provided for the organizers and participants for this period. BIRS has secure storage for luggage if you would like to hold afternoon meetings on Thursday (up until 3 p.m.).

If space allows, BIRS 5-day workshop participants may stay at BIRS on Thursday night to accommodate travel arrangements. There is a $5 Cdn service charge, paid by the participant. All meals taken at the Banff Centre beyond Thursday lunch will be billed to the room and paid upon checkout. Participants interested in this option should contact the BIRS Scientific Programme Coordinator (


At the present time, BIRS is unable to offer any funding for travel.

The nearest international airport is Calgary, Alberta, Canada. There is a regular shuttle service from the airport to the Banff Centre. Travel information can be found at