Office of Research

Simons Investigators in Mathematics, Physics, and Theoretical Computer Science

The Simons Foundation invites nominations for the Simons Investigators in Mathematics, Physics, and Theoretical Computer Science program. Simons Investigators are outstanding theoretical scientists who receive long-term research support from the Simons Foundation.


Rationale: The Simons Investigators program aims to provide a stable base of support for outstanding scientists, enabling them to undertake long-term investigations of the fundamental questions. 


Level and Duration of Funding: A Simons Investigator is appointed for an initial period of five years. Renewal for an additional five years is contingent upon the evaluation of scientific impact of the Investigator. Renewal beyond the 10-year period will not be considered. Appointments will begin September 1, 2013.

An Investigator position may be interrupted and resumed for reasons that would normally justify a leave from a university such as illness, need to care for family members, or national service. Periods of sabbatical or research leave do not interrupt the Investigator position. Support may be withdrawn at any time at the discretion of the foundation, but it is expected that termination of the grant at times other than 5 or 10 years would occur only in very rare cases.

An Investigator will receive research support in an amount initially set at $100,000 per year. An additional $10,000 per year will be provided to the Investigator’s department. The award is administered through the institution at which the Investigator is appointed, and this institution will receive 20% in indirect costs.


Appropriate Expenses: The funding provided to the Investigator may be used at the Investigator’s discretion to support research expenses in the following categories:


  • Up to one month of summer salary
  • Teaching reduction only down to the level of one course per semester
  • Salary support for postdoctoral, graduate or undergraduate research assistants
  • Domestic or international travel
  • Short or long-term visitors
  • Research equipment


Expenditures in other expense categories may be possible, but must be approved in advance by the foundation.


Funding provided 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. The department is expected to provide appropriate administrative support to the Investigator.


Unspent Funds: The foundation’s intent is that the award be administered to allow the maximum flexibility in pursuit of scientific goals. To this end, unspent funds are automatically carried over from year to year during the period of appointment, allowing for a particularly large expenditure in one year; for example, it might be appropriate to create a “special year” at an expense of several hundred thousand dollars. In exceptional circumstances it may be appropriate to pre-spend a portion of the award.


Tentative spending plans will be due by December 1, 2013. Requests for accelerated disbursal will be considered by the foundation, subject to approval by the Director of the Mathematics and Physical Sciences Division and to budget availability. Investigators may apply for a no–cost extension for funds unexpended at the conclusion of the appointment.


Reporting: A financial report and a brief activity report, summarizing research results achieved, people supported, talks given and papers published, will be required from the Investigator annually, due by October 31 of each year.


There will be a comprehensive review in the fourth year at which a detailed progress report and statement of research plans is to be presented by the Investigator. This review will determine the reappointment of the Investigator for an additional 5 years.


At the conclusion of the appointment, at either year 5 or 10, a final report is required, due within 60 days of the appointment end date. This report should detail the research achieved, people supported, publications produced and a detailed itemization of how the funds were expended. It may reference the annual reports already submitted.



Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility: To be an Investigator, a scientist must be engaged in theoretical research in Mathematics, Physics or Computer Science and must have a primary appointment as a faculty member at a U.S. or Canadian institution with a Ph.D. program and not have previously been a Simons Investigator.


The foundation reserves the right to determine eligibility but, typically, a ‘primary appointment’ is defined as one where an Investigator is a full time employee of an academic institution and with a teaching load that is comparable to that of other faculty members in the same department. Investigators may transfer their award to a new educational institution within the U.S. or Canada, subject to approval from the foundation and the old and new institutions. The award will be interrupted or terminated, at the foundation’s discretion, if an Investigator takes up a primary long-term position at a research Institute, National Laboratory, non-US or for-profit organization or accepts a major administrative responsibility that significantly reduces the time available for research.


Investigators are expected to attend annual meetings at the Simons Foundation (at the foundation’s expense) to discuss their activities.


Basis for Awards: The intent of the program is to support outstanding scientists in their most productive years, when they are establishing creative new research directions, providing leadership to the field and effectively mentoring junior scientists.


Number of Awards: In 2013, we anticipate making up to four awards in Mathematics, up to six awards in Physics, and up to three awards in Theoretical Computer Science.


Nomination Procedure: The foundation asks the University to submit nominations, up to two for each of the three fields. The nomination materials outlined below should be sent via email to Elizabeth Roy ( by December 14, 2012.


For each nominee, we ask the University to provide the following documents:

  • Nomination letter: up to two pages in length, explaining the distinctive scientific contributions of the nominee, focusing on scientific accomplishments of the past five years and including discussion of a few important papers.
  • The nominee’s curriculum vitae, including Ph.D. year, institution, advisor, postdoctoral institutions and advisors, and positions held subsequent to award of doctorate.
  • An up-to-date publication list.
  • A list of postdoctoral fellows and Ph.D. students supervised or under supervision.
  • A statement of current and pending research support.

Application Instructions

Please submit a nomination letter and PI CV by email to by 5:00 PM Thursday, November 15, 2012. Nominations are due to the sponsor 12/14/12 so you will need to have your materials in to the Office of Sponsored Programs by 12/7/12 for processing if given the go ahead by the review committee. Other open limited submissions opportunities, as well as the internal proposal review committee review and selection process outline are here: Please feel free to email us at with questions or information on any limited submission opportunities that should be but are not already listed on that page.

Opportunity Details

Program web page

11/15/2012 UW Internal Deadline Closed
12/07/2012 OSP Deadline
12/14/2012 Sponsor Deadline

Simons Foundation

Eligible groups
  • All campus

Inquiries and Contact Information

Investigators who identify a grant, award or fellowship program that restricts the number of applications that can be submitted from an Institution should immediately contact their Chairperson, Associate Dean for Research (or Dean, if no ADR) and the Office of Research (see below) if they intend to prepare a response. Failure to do so, or to meet the deadlines for submission of pre-proposal, will preclude submission of the application through the Office of Sponsored Programs.

For general inquiries, or to request a listing of a limited submission opportunity that should be but is not already listed, please email us at