With a generous bequest from the estate of Mary Beth Ruskai, The EDGE Foundation established The Mary Beth Ruskai Research Fund for Women. Every year, two grants of $5,000 are awarded for a 12-month grant period for women in the mathematical sciences to advance their research careers through travel, collaboration, or other activities. The scope of these grants reflects Beth’s commitment to women and to interdisciplinary work.

The Ruskai Research Fund will support the career and research advancement of these amazing mathematicians.


Grants are available to women mathematical scientists. Women doing mathematical work in other fields (theoretical physics, physical chemistry, engineering, computer science, quantum information theory, etc) are eligible. Neither a formal degree in mathematics nor an affiliation with an academic institution are necessary to apply. Eligible applicants must be based in the United States.

This grant is intended to support the research advancement of women who are not well established and/or are pursuing mathematical research somewhere other than a major research university. Applicants without access to travel and/or research funds from their institution or other sources will be prioritized by the selection committee.

Women who have received support from this fund during the past five years are not eligible.

Women from underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply. Additionally, women who are not based at a major research university are encouraged to apply.


The award consists of $5,000 to support the grantee’s research. Valid expenses include travel for research collaboration or conferences, participation in workshops which offer good opportunities for research interactions, or other support for research activities.

If the funds are paid directly to the grantee, they will be counted as taxable income. Alternatively, the EDGE Foundation is able to disburse the funds as reimbursements (non-taxable) or partner with the grantee’s institution to administer grant funds.

Reporting Requirements:

A narrative report on the outcomes of the grant and how the funds were spent must be submitted via email to edgestaff@edgeforwomen.org no later than 60 days following the end of the one-year grant period.


The application consists of the following:

  • Rationale for Funding Needs. (1-2 pages)

If funding for conference attendance is requested, please provide information about the conference and anticipated costs.

  • Research Description (Up to 2 pages, not including citations)
  • Curriculum vitae (Up to 2 pages)
  • Budget Outline (Up to 1 page)
  • Current and pending funding support

Applications are submitted through mathprograms.org.


Applications are due April 15, 2024. Applications are available here.

When Beth Ruskai received her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 1969, she also received an M.A. in mathematics. After a series of postdocs and a few years as assistant professor in the mathematics department at the University of Oregon, she took a faculty position at the University of Lowell, which became a campus of the University of Massachusetts in 1990. After taking early retirement in 2002, she was a research professor at Tufts University from 2003-2014 and an Associate Member of the Institute for Quantum Computing in Waterloo, Canada from 2011-2016.

Beth Ruskai was a mathematical physicist who worked on problems that arise in quantum theory. In 1972, she and Elliot Lieb proved the Strong Subadditivity of Quantum Entropy, which was described in 2005 as the key result on which virtually every nontrivial quantum coding theorem (in quantum information theory) relies. In 1981, she gave the first proof that an atom with a fixed nuclear charge can have only a finite number of electrons bound to it.

In 1990, she organized the CBMS conference on wavelet theory, at which Ingrid Daubechies gave her legendary Ten Lectures on Wavelets. She considered this one of her most significant contributions to science. This experience led her to organize other interdisciplinary workshops, including an influential series on operator structures in quantum information theory at the Banff International Research Station and the Fields Institute. She was a Fellow of the APS, the AMS, and the AAAS. In addition, Beth was well-known for her steadfast activism on behalf of women and her career-long involvement in the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM). She wrote extensively on gender and science.

Dr. Mary Beth Ruskai