Simons Fellows in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the most important criterion for securing a Simons Fellowship?

    The potential for research accomplishment, as judged by accomplishments over the last five years and plans for the leave, is the primary criterion for evaluating applications.

  2. If my university will refer to my Simons Fellowship period as a “leave without pay,” am I still eligible to apply?

    Yes, as long as you are eligible for sabbatical, you are still eligible to apply for the Simons Fellows program.

  3. Can I apply for a Simons Fellowship for a research leave that is not a sabbatical?

    No, only sabbatical-eligible faculty can apply for a Simons Fellowship.

  4. I have a tenure-track position. Am I eligible to apply?

    No, only those with tenured positions are eligible for the fellowship.

  5. Can I hold a Collaboration Grant for Mathematicians and a Simons Fellowship at the same time?

    Yes, the foundation allows holding both awards simultaneously.

  6. Can the Simons Fellowship support a leave in which the recipient remains at his or her home institution?

    Yes, the fellowship can support this type of leave.

  7. Is it allowable for a sabbatical location to be outside of the United States or Canada?

    Yes, as long as all other eligibility requirements are met.

  8. Although I will not be teaching any classes during my leave, I will have graduate students. Is this acceptable?

    Yes, this is acceptable.

  9. My research area is biological physics. Will the program consider my application?

    It is not our intention to support biological physics with this program.

  10. If I am not appointed in a physics department, am I eligible for a Simons Fellowship in Theoretical Physics?

    Applicants will be evaluated as theoretical physicists, in terms of potential contributions to physics, and must fulfill all of the eligibility requirements, but there is no restriction on the home department. 

  11. My primary appointment is in a department of computer science, although my research is primarily mathematics. Am I eligible for a Simons Fellowship in Mathematics?

    Applicants will be evaluated as mathematicians, in terms of potential contributions to mathematics, and must fulfill all of the eligibility requirements, but there is no restriction on the home department.

  12. Will the foundation accept applications from computer scientists?

    It is not our intent to support computer science with this program.

  13. Would you consider mathematical neuroscience an eligible field for the Simons Fellows in Mathematics program?

    Yes, mathematical neuroscience would be an eligible field for the fellowship.

  14. Can the Simons Fellowship be used to match another external fellowship?

    No, the Simons Fellowship cannot be used to match another external fellowship.

  15. If my total academic salary for the foundation-supported term is greater than $100,000, am I allowed to make up the difference from other sources?

    Yes, as long as your total salary, including foundation support for the period of the leave, is less than or equal to your academic year salary. 

  16. Is there a limit to the number of applicants per university?

    No, there is no limit.

  17. Are emeriti faculty eligible?

    Retired and emeriti faculty are not eligible.

  18. I have an adjunct appointment. Am I eligible?

    The intent of the program is to support scientists at academic institutions. A scientist whose primary appointment (as determined by source of salary and level of teaching commitments) is at a national laboratory or other research institute but who has an adjunct, courtesy or backup appointment at an academic institution will not normally be eligible. An adjunct faculty member whose primary employer is an academic institution, and who is eligible on the basis of his or her research, is eligible for the Simons Fellowship.

  19. I am not a U.S. or Canadian citizen; am I eligible to be a Simons Fellow?

    U.S. or Canadian citizenship is not required, but a grantee’s primary appointment must be at a U.S. or Canadian institution in order to be a Simons Fellow.

  20. My home institution is in Canada and does not have the equivalency determination letter from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service stating exemption under 501(c)(3) nor a 509(a)(1), (2) or (3) classification. When do we apply for equivalency via NGOSource, and does my institution have to cover the costs?

    The foundation handles the equivalency determination process if the institution is selected for funding and will also cover the cost.

  21. If I am not awarded a Simons Fellowship this year, may I reapply next year?

    There is no limit on the number of times one can apply, as long as one is eligible for a sabbatical.

  22. To whom is the grant awarded?

    The grant is awarded to the Simons Fellow’s home institution.

  23. How do I get reimbursed for eligible expenses?

    As the grant is made through the awardee’s institution, one should submit requests for reimbursement and purchases as prescribed by the awardee’s department.

  24. Where do I submit my application?

    Log in to proposalCENTRAL ( You will find the MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES-SIMONS FELLOWS IN MATHEMATICS and MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES-SIMONS FELLOWS IN THEORETICAL PHYSICS applications in the list of Simons Foundation funding opportunities. Click APPLY NOW to start either application. Please see the Application Instructions for further information.

  25. Do I need approval from the grants office at my institution to submit my application?

    To submit an application, the Simons Foundation requires the signature of a signing official in your institution’s sponsored projects office or equivalent office. Please check with your institution’s policies regarding application submission.

  26. How do I get in touch with proposalCENTRAL for technical questions?

    Email pcsupport(replace this with the @ sign) or call 800-875-2562.

  27. Are deadline times adjusted for time zones?

    No. Please be advised that deadlines on the application are in Eastern Standard Time. We highly recommend registering early and submitting applications with ample time for corrections prior to the deadline hour.

  28. I cannot find the SUBMIT button. Where is it?

    If the submission deadline has not passed, use the VALIDATE button to check for missing requirements. If the problem persists, please contact proposalCENTRAL customer support, pcsupport(replace this with the @ sign) If the deadline has passed, the submission period has closed and you will not be able to submit. The foundation reviews requests for extensions on a case-by-case basis.

  29. I get an error message citing a missing section when I try to submit.

    Please click the VALIDATE button to review the application for missing sections. If you are still receiving error messages after completing and saving the indicated sections, please contact proposalCENTRAL customer support, pcsupport(replace this with the @ sign)

  30. Is validating my application sufficient for submission?

    No. Validating the application will only check for errors and alert you to missing requirements. If the application is complete, you must hit SUBMIT. After successful submission, your application will now be listed under the IN PROGRESS tab with the status SUBMITTED.

  31. Is there a confirmation email when I submit my application?

    A confirmation email is sent upon submission. Please contact proposalCENTRAL customer support, pcsupport(replace this with the @ sign), if you have submitted an application and have not received a confirmation email from proposalCENTRAL within ten minutes. Make sure that spam filters allow emails from pcsupport(replace this with the @ sign) The status of an application can also be checked within the MANAGE PROPOSALS tab in proposalCENTRAL.

If you have questions that are not addressed in these FAQs, the Simons Fellows RFA or Application Instructions, please contact the Simons Foundation Division for Mathematics and the Physical Sciences at mps(replace this with the @ sign)

Download the Simons Fellows FAQ here.