University of Southern California


Simons Foundation – Simons Investigators in the Mathematical Modeling of Living Systems 2018

Slots:                                                     Two                      

LOI:                                                        NA                         

Internal Deadline:                           Contact the Office of Research if interested.

External Deadline:                          October 31, 2017, 11:59:59pm EST

Award Information:                        Anticipated Amount of Awards: 7

A Simons Investigator in MMLS is appointed for a period of five years. Appointments will begin August 1, 2018.


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 award will be administered through the Investigator’s institution, which will receive an additional 20 percent per year in indirect costs.


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 Support may be withdrawn at any time at the discretion of the foundation, but it is expected that termination of the award at times other than five years would occur only rarely.

Cost Sharing:                                    

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


Expenditures in other expense categories may be possible but must be approved in advance by the foundation. Investigator funds may not be used for sabbatical salary support or teaching relief of any kind.


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. 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 under Grant

through the Office of Research Application Portal:


Materials to submit:


Link to Award:


Who May Serve as PI:

The intent of the program is to help launch the research careers of outstanding scientists in the early stages of their research career. Nominees to the program should be within the first eight years of their first faculty appointments. Nominations will be evaluated on the basis of nominees’ potential for scientific accomplishments.


To be eligible to be nominated for a Simons Investigator in MMLS award, a scientist must be engaged in research related to the MMLS program and must not previously have been a Simons Investigator. He/she must have a primary appointment as a 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. At the time of appointment, an Investigator should be in the early stages of an academic career and must be within eight years of the start of his/her first faculty position.


The foundation reserves the right to determine eligibility, but, generally, a ‘primary appointment’ is defined as one where the Investigator 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. Investigators may transfer their awards to new educational institutions within the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, or Ireland, 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 (i) takes up 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, which falls outside the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, or Ireland; (ii) at a for-profit organization; or (iii) accepts a major administrative responsibility that significantly reduces the time available for research.


Investigators are not eligible to hold a Simons Fellowship or another Simons Investigator award for the duration of the Investigator award.


Investigators are expected to attend annual meetings, held at the Simons Foundation each fall, to discuss their activities. Costs associated with attending these meetings will be covered by the foundation.



New approaches in mathematically based modeling are making increasingly important contributions to the life sciences. The MMLS program aims to support such approaches and foster a scientific culture of theory-experiment collaborations similar to that prevailing in the physical sciences. To encourage young researchers to pursue this endeavor, the MMLS program will provide a long-term, stable base of support, enabling a focus on model-based approaches to important issues in the life sciences.


A broad 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 this reason, bioinformatics- and genomics-related proposals fall outside the scope of the program. In all cases, preference will be given to work that relates closely to experiment, developing mathematical models that can explain data, suggest new classes of experiments and introduce important, new concepts.

Please visit our Institutionally Limited Submission webpage for updates and other announcements.