Simons Award for Graduate Students in Theoretical Computer Science

The Simons Foundation Division for Mathematics and the Physical Sciences invites applications for the Simons Award for Graduate Students in Theoretical Computer Science program. These awards will be made to graduate students with an outstanding track record of research accomplishments.

Rationale: Theoretical computer science is unique in that graduate students working independently produce some of the best results in the field. With the Simons Award for Graduate Students, the foundation seeks to identify and support these emerging stars by providing additional support to enable them to freely pursue their research interests. The award is not intended to replace the regular academic-year support of these outstanding students.

Eligibility: To be eligible, the applicant must be a graduate student who has completed two, three or four years at a U.S. or Canadian institution of higher education. A track record of outstanding results in theoretical computer science is the key criterion. There are no citizenship requirements.

Grants are awarded to the student’s home institution. There is a limit of two applications per university. Please coordinate with the relevant university officials. For-profit organizations may not apply.

Level and Duration of Funding: A Simons Award for Graduate Students is awarded for a period of two years for up to $24,000 per year. An awardee must be a graduate student for the duration of the award. Each award will provide support for the following:

  • Student Discretionary Funds: Up to $8,500 per year for the awardee to use at his/her discretion (e.g., travel to summer research locations or to conferences, equipment, books, personal computer). These funds cannot be used toward a salary/stipend.
  • Summer Support: Up to $9,000 per year for up to three months of summer salary support for the awardee. This support may include fringe benefits, but should not be used to cover tuition.
  • Department Funds: $2,500 per year to the awardee’s department to enhance the research atmosphere of the department. These funds should be expended at the discretion of the awardee’s advisor.
  • Overhead: $4,000 per year to the institution for administrative expenses.

The award will commence June 1, 2014, and end May 31, 2016.

Allowable Expenses: Travel funds should be used for purposes that further the awardee’s research and professional development, such as attendance at domestic and international conferences or workshops in the awardee’s area of research as well as short term or extended visits to other institutions to pursue research. Travel expenses may include direct travel expenses (economy class) and related per diem expenses at standard government rates. Travel funds can be used toward the awardee’s travel only and may not be used to fund the travel of others.

Unspent Funds: Any funds not spent in the first year of the award may be spent in the second year without prior approval, but unspent funds at the end of the award must be returned to the foundation unless express permission is obtained for a specified future use.

Reporting: Brief activity reports are required annually from the awardee and should be signed by the awardee’s advisor. These reports should summarize research results achieved, talks given and papers published. In addition, annual financial reports are required from the institution, signed by the designated financial officer. Both reports are due 60 days following the end of each award year.

Basis for Awards: The intent of the program is to support graduate students who have already produced outstanding results. A selection committee of distinguished scientists will consider the applications. Awards will be based on the quality of the applicant’s research contributions, as outlined in the student’s list of publications and research statement, and on the strength of the letters of support (see Application Requirements below).

Number of Awards: Up to 10 awards will be made annually.

How to Apply: Applicants must apply through proposalCENTRAL ( The deadline to apply is February 12, 2014, at midnight EST. Please coordinate submission of the proposal with the appropriate officials in accordance with institution/university policies.

Please see the Application Instructions for further information.

Application Requirements:

  1. A research statement (2-page limit) summarizing the applicant’s research contributions, research plans for the immediate future, and career goals. References do not need to be included within the page limit but should not exceed an additional page.
  2. A curriculum vitae (2-page limit) that includes institution, advisor and a list of publications.
  3. A letter of support from the department chair.
  4. A letter of support from the applicant’s advisor. This letter must be submitted by the advisor confidentially and directly via proposalCENTRAL. Please see the Application Instructions for more information.
  5. A letter from a reference outside the applicant’s institution. This letter must be submitted by the reference confidentially and directly via proposalCENTRAL. Please see the Application Instructions for more information.
  6. Budget requested per year and corresponding budget justification.

Funding decisions will be announced by April 1, 2014, and funding will begin on June 1, 2014.

Important Dates:

Application Deadline
Award Start Date
February 12, 2014
April 1, 2014
June 1, 2014

For Further Information:

Contact Information:

mps(replace this with the @ sign)

Elizabeth Roy
Program Manager
Mathematics and the Physical Sciences
eroy(replace this with the @ sign)


Download the Simons Award for Graduate Students in Theoretical Computer Science RFA PDF.