About Simons Foundation

The Simons Foundation is a private foundation based in New York City, incorporated in 1994 by Jim and Marilyn Simons.

The Simons Foundation’s mission is to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences. We sponsor a range of programs that aim to promote a deeper understanding of our world.

Mathematics and the Physical Sciences (MPS)

The primary focus of the foundation’s MPS program is on the theoretical sciences radiating from mathematics: in particular, the fields of mathematics, theoretical computer science and theoretical physics.

Although we have supported basic research in mathematics and physics for years at institutions around the globe, the mode of our support entered an important new phase in fall 2009 with the introduction of grant opportunities with open application procedures. It is intended that this will become our primary mode of operation.

In 2010, the MPS program issued its first requests for grant applications. These requests offered grants to establish postdoctoral fellowships, to promote collaboration between researchers, and to create professorships that combine mathematics with other fields, as well as a grant to endow an institute for theoretical computer science. Other projects are under way, including the Africa Mathematics Project, intended to bolster mathematics scholarship on the African continent, and an oral history project: a series of interviews with renowned mathematicians and scientists which will be made available to the public for viewing.

Life Sciences

The Simons Foundation’s initial support of life sciences work has tended to focus on research that promotes synergy between biology and mathematics. Such projects have included quantitative biology programs at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques, the Institute for Advanced Study, and The Rockefeller University.

The Life Sciences program is expected to expand in scope over the next two to three years.

Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI)

SFARI’s mission is to improve the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders by funding innovative research of the highest quality and relevance.

In 2007, SFARI issued its first Request for Applications, its goal being to attract the best researchers to the field. In the years since, SFARI has given grants to more than 150 investigators in the United States and abroad. Additionally, to facilitate research in the field as a whole, SFARI has created the Simons Simplex Collection, which contains extensive genetic and phenotypic data from almost 3,000 families with a child affected by autism.

Although SFARI’s immediate priority is to benefit individuals challenged by autism spectrum disorders, the program’s research is expected to yield insights into the neural mechanisms of fundamental human capabilities, complementing the mission of the Simons Foundation to advance research in the basic sciences and mathematics.

For a more detailed description of SFARI, please visit SFARI.org.

Education & Outreach

The Simons Foundation’s Education & Outreach programs seek to stimulate a deeper interest and understanding of science and mathematics among students, professionals and the interested public. Our education initiative, namely, Math for America, focuses on reaching secondary school students with a corps of outstanding STEM teachers and leaders in U.S. public schools. Foundation outreach programs aim to connect outstanding scientists with the general public, communicating the excitement of science and providing opportunities for discourse on emerging or important scientific topics of our times.

To find out more, please visit our Education and Outreach pages.

For more information on the Simons Foundation’s activity, please read or download our Annual Report.