Simons Foundation Investigators Program: call guidance
The Simons Foundation’s Mathematics and Physical Sciences division invites nominations for Simons Investigators in Mathematics, Physics, Astrophysics and Computer Science. Within the Physics program, the foundation also invites nominations for Theoretical Physics in Life Sciences Investigators.
The foundation strongly encourages the nomination of scientists from underrepresented groups.
In 2023, the foundation expects to appoint up to four Investigators in Mathematics, up to seven in Physics (including up to two in Theoretical Physics in Life Sciences), up to two in Astrophysics and up to three in Theoretical Computer Science.
Rationale: The Simons Investigators program aims to provide a stable base of support for outstanding theoretical midcareer scientists, enabling them to undertake long-term investigations of fundamental questions in their fields. The intent of the program is to support these scientists in their most productive years, when they are establishing new research directions, providing leadership in the field and effectively mentoring junior scientists.
Level and Duration of Funding: A Simons Investigator is appointed for an initial period of five years. Renewal for an additional five years may be considered, contingent upon the evaluation of scientific impact of the Investigator prior to the end of year five. Renewal beyond the 10-year period will not be considered. Please note that appointments for 2023 Investigators will begin January 1, 2024.
Investigator awards starting January 1, 2024, will receive up to $192,000 per year. This includes $150,000 per year in research support for the Investigator, $10,000 per year for the Investigator’s department, and up to an additional 20 percent per year in indirect costs to the Investigator’s institution.
Allowable Expenses: The funding provided to a Simons Investigator may be used at the Investigator’s discretion to support research expenses in the following categories:
- Up to one month of summer salary and related benefits per year for the Investigator.
- Salary support and related benefits, including tuition support, for postdoctoral fellows and research associates, graduate students or undergraduate research assistants.
- Domestic or international travel for the Investigator and the Investigator’s postdoctoral fellows and research associates, graduate students or undergraduate research assistants.
- Short- or long-term visitors and collaborators, including travel, meals and lodging expenses.
- Research equipment, supplies and other expenses directly benefiting the research, including computers, computer support, publication expenses and professional membership dues.
Investigator funds may not be used for sabbatical salary support or teaching relief of any kind.
Funding for the Investigator’s department should be used at the discretion of the department chair to provide support for seminars, visitors, refreshments and related expenditures that benefit the research activities of the department. Funds may also be used to subsidize meals for faculty, students and visitors. In addition, these funds may be used to help pay for furniture and research infrastructure, such as copiers, computer servers and computer support.
Investigators are expected to attend the MPS annual meeting, held at the Simons Foundation in October of each year. Costs associated with attending this meeting will be covered by the foundation.
Eligibility Requirements: To be eligible to be nominated for an Investigator award, a scientist must be engaged in theoretical research in mathematics, physics (or theoretical physics in life sciences), astrophysics or computer science and must not have previously been a Simons Investigator. A nominee must be midcareer (typically, early-stage tenured full professors), have a primary appointment as a tenured faculty member at an educational institution in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom or Ireland, on a campus within these countries, and the primary department affiliation must have a Ph.D. program (note that the appointment need not be in a mathematics, physics, astrophysics or computer science department). A nominee must be in place at the institution submitting the nomination at the time of the appointment start date.
The foundation reserves the right to determine eligibility, but generally, a ‘primary appointment’ is defined as one where the scientist is a full-time employee of an academic institution with a teaching load that is comparable to that of other faculty members in the same department. A scientist cannot be nominated if this individual holds a primary long-term position at a research institute, national laboratory or other institution outside the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom or Ireland or another campus of their current institution that falls outside the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom or Ireland, or at a for-profit organization or will hold an administrative position at the time of the appointment start date that significantly reduces the time available for research, including departmental chair or institute director.
Investigators are not eligible to hold a Simons Fellowship or another Simons Investigator award for the duration of the Simons Investigator award. Candidates from previous years are allowed to be renominated.
Eligibility Requirements — Investigator in Theoretical Physics in Life Sciences: To be eligible to be nominated for an Investigator in Theoretical Physics in Life Sciences award, a nominee must be a well-established, midcareer researcher who develops and applies advanced theoretical physics ideas and methods in the life sciences.
A spectrum of research areas within the life sciences will be considered ranging from cellular-level issues of organization, regulation, signaling and morphogenic dynamics to the properties of organisms and ecology, as well as neuroscience and evolution; however, preference will be given to areas in which modeling approaches are less established, and for that reason, bioinformatics- and genomics-related proposals fall outside the scope of the program. Furthermore, researchers whose primary theoretical activity is the application of existing computational platforms to fit or parametrize experimental data will not be considered in this program.
The foundation’s expectation is that an Investigator in Theoretical Physics in Life Sciences nominee would have a level of theoretical sophistication on par with the best practices used in theoretical condensed matter physics. The theory must eventually connect with an experiment, suggesting new questions and new classes of experiments, introducing important new concepts and explaining data, thus fostering a scientific culture of theory-experiment collaborations, which is characteristic of physics.
Nomination Procedure: Each institution may submit up to two nominations in each of the Mathematics, Physics, Astrophysics and Theoretical Computer Science programs (two in Mathematics, two in Physics, two in Astrophysics, two in Computer Science) and up to one additional nomination in Theoretical Physics in Life Sciences (three total in Physics — two for Theoretical Physics and one for Theoretical Physics in the Life Sciences) for total of 9 nominations.
Nomination applications should be started and submitted on the Simons Award Manager (SAM) under the account of the institutional representative submitting the nomination in coordination with the appropriate institutional officials and policies. The institutional representative can be, among others, the nominator (if at the same institution as the nominee), the nominee’s department chair or an official in the institution’s sponsored projects office (or equivalent). A nominee cannot submit his/her own nomination.
Nominations must be submitted via the Simons Award Manager (SAM). The deadline to submit nominations is November 3, 2022, at 12p.m. EDT. Late nominations will not be accepted.
We ask that nominations be treated confidentially — the nominees should not know they are being
nominated if possible.
Please refer to the Simons Investigators Nomination Instructions for Mathematics, Physics, Astrophysics and Computer Science 2023 for further information on submitting a nomination. Please note that a nomination for a Theoretical Physics in the Life Sciences Investigator must be indicated in the Investigators in Physics application.
The foundation expects to notify institutions of the decision by May 31, 2023. Please note that notifications will be sent to the institutional official and corresponding email address that submitted the nomination.
Please see the Simons Foundation’s general grant policies for more information regarding foundation
Nomination Deadline: November 3, 2022
Notification: May 31, 2023
Award Start Date: January 1, 2024
Program or administrative questions:
Senior Manager, Programs and Administration
Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Many of the greatest ideas and discoveries come from a diverse mix of minds, backgrounds and experiences. The Simons Foundation is committed to grantmaking that inspires and supports greater diversity and inclusiveness by cultivating a funding environment that ensures representation of all identities and differences and equitable access to information and resources for all applicants and grantees. The Simons Foundation provides equal opportunities to all applicants for funding without regard to race, religion, color, age, sex, pregnancy, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic disposition, neurodiversity, disability, veteran status or any other protected category under federal, state and local law. The foundation also funds programs directed at supporting scientists from disadvantaged backgrounds or underrepresented groups, often working closely with professional societies and other funding agencies.