University of Southern California


Simons Foundation – Simons Investigators in Mathematics, Physics, Astrophysics, and Computer Sciences 2019

Slots:                                                     2 nominations per institution in each of the Mathematics, Physics, Astrophysics, and Theoretical Sciences categories and an additional nomination in “Theoretical Physics in Life Sciences”

Internal Deadline:                          Contact the Office of Research if interested.

LOI:                                                        Not required.

External Deadline:                          Nominations must be received by October 31, 2019, 11:59:59pm EST through proposalCentral. Instructions here.         

Award Information:                        Type: Grant

Estimated Number of Awards: up to: 4 in Mathematics, 7 in Physics (including up to 2 in Theoretical Physics in Life Sciences), 2 in Astrophysics, 3 in Computer Science

Anticipated Amount: up to $132,000 per year for 5 years, with possibility of renewing for another 5 years.

Budgetary Requirements:           An Investigator will receive research support in the amount of $100,000 per year. An additional $10,000 per year will be provided to the Investigator’s department. The Investigator’s institution will receive an additional 20 percent per year in indirect costs (hence $132,000 above).

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

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.

Submission Process:                     PIs must submit their application as a Limited Submission through the Office of Research Application Portal:

Materials to submit:

Link to Award:

Who May Serve as PI:                   

To be eligible to be nominated for an Investigator award, a scientist must be engaged in theoretical research in mathematics, physics, astrophysics or computer science and must not have previously been a Simons Investigator. He/she must be midcareer, 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.

A spectrum of research areas within the life sciences will be considered ranging from cellularlevel 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 the 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.

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 he or she 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.

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.


The Simons Investigators program aims to provide a stable base of support for outstanding 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.

The aim of the Simons Investigators programs is to identify and support the most active and creative researchers during the years when they are developing into and serving as the intellectual leaders of the field, and to provide them with resources to undertake new and creative investigations. The nominees are judged on their potential for innovative contributions to science over the coming years.

Visit our Institutionally Limited Submission webpage for updates and other announcements.