Math+X: Encouraging Interactions

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    The Simons Foundation is pleased to support awardees of the Math+X: Encouraging Interactions program. Through a matching grant for endowment, the Math+X program creates joint Chairs, each shared equally between a mathematics department and a partner department. The grants include substantial operating funds to support activities shared between the two departments.

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    Important Dates
      Contact Info

      Letters of Intent (LOI) Deadline: September 30, 2013 at midnight EST

      For NEW proposalCENTRAL Users:

      Step 1: Register as a proposalCENTRAL user:

      • Go to https://proposalcentral.altum.com/default.asp?GMID=50
      • Select “First Time Users – REGISTER” (Please see the proposalCENTRAL instructions for How to Register as a proposalCENTRAL user: https://proposalcentral.altum.com/RegUser.pdf)
      • You will receive a confirmation number by email that you must enter when you login the first time. Note: This email will also contain both the applicant’s username andpassword.
      • Login using “Applicant Login” and enter your confirmation number in the box provided in the next window.
      • You will then be directed to your Professional Profile, where you will need to select a primary institution.
      • If your institution is already registered on proposalCENTRAL, you will see it listed in the search results.
      • If you do not see your institution in the list, you can either ask your grants and contracts office or equivalent to create on the system, or you could add the institution profile yourself. (Please see proposalCENTRAL instructions for How To Register your Institution with proposalCENTRAL (Grants and Contracts Officials Only): https://proposalcentral.altum.com/RegInst.pdf)
      • It is not a requirement for you to complete the other sections of your Professional Profile at this time. It is recommended that you do enter your degrees and personal data for applications (Sections 2 and 4). Please be sure to save after completing each section.
      • Within the application, a red asterisk will indicate the required Professional Profile and Institutional Profile fields (Applicant and Organization/Institution sections).

      Step 2: Navigate to the Grant Opportunities tab

      • Select ‘Simons Foundation’ from the drop-down list and click on the “Filter List by GrantMaker” button.
      • You will then see the list of current Simons Foundations grant opportunities.
      • Click on “Apply Now” to access the Math+X: Encouraging Interactions application.
      • Enter an Application Title and click the “Save” button. This creates your application and stores it under the “Manage Proposals” tab, and allows you to navigate to the other sections of the application.
      • Please be sure to save after completing each section.
      • You can navigate to each section by clicking on the “Next” button or by clicking on the section hyperlink in the left-hand navigation.
      • For further information, please see the proposalCENTRAL instructions on How to Create an Application using proposalCENTRAL: https://proposalcentral.altum.com/CreateApp.pdf

      For EXISTING proposalCENTRAL Users:

      Step 1. Login using “Applicant Login” at https://proposalcentral.altum.com/default.asp?GMID=50

      Step 2. Navigate to the Grant Opportunities tab

      • Select ‘Simons Foundation’ from the drop-down list and click on the “Filter List by GrantMaker” button.
      • You will then see the list of current Simons Foundations grant opportunities.
      • Click on “Apply Now” to access the Math+X: Encouraging Interactions application.
      • Enter an Application Title and click the “Save” button. This creates your application and stores it under the “Manage Proposals” tab, and allows you to navigate to the other sections of the application.
      • Please be sure to save after completing each section.
      • You can navigate to each section by clicking on the “Next” button or by clicking on the section hyperlink in the left-hand navigation.
      • For further information, please see the proposalCENTRAL instructions on How to Create an Application using proposalCENTRAL: https://proposalcentral.altum.com/CreateApp.pdf

      Format of the LOI: Letters should be typewritten, single-spaced and in typeface no smaller than 10-point font. Margins, in all directions, must be at least ½ inch.

      The LOI should be submitted on university letterhead and signed by the Chairs of the Mathematics Department and the “X” department, and an Administrative Officer with authority to commit to a fundraising effort. It should not exceed five pages (signatures do not need to be included within this limit).

      LOIs Contain the Following Elements:

      1. Title Page:
        1. Enter your Application Title.
        2. Indicate if resubmission of a previous Math+X application. If yes, enter the date of previous submission and select the previous application from the drop-down list.
      1. Enable Other Users to Access this Proposal: This screen allows you to give other users access to your grant application, if necessary.
      1. Applicant: This information is pre-loaded from the applicant’s Professional Profile.
      1. Organization/Institution: This information is pre-loaded from the Institutional Profile.
      1. Upload Letter of Intent (as PDF document): The LOI should be submitted on institution letterhead and signed by the Chairs of the mathematics department and the X partner department, as well as an Administrative Officer with the authority to commit to a fundraising effort (5 page limit).
      1. Validate: Click the ‘Validate’ button to check for any missing REQUIRED information or files. All missing required information will be listed on the screen. Please correct any missing information before submitting your application.
      1. Submit: This section will only appear if the deadline has not passed.

      LOI Approval:
      After evaluation of the LOIs, the Simons Foundation will invite the most qualified applicants to submit full proposals. When the LOI is administratively accepted, the full proposal application can be accessed through proposalCENTRAL. Navigate to the “Manage Proposals” tab, which contains a list of applications “In Progress”. The LOI status will change to “LOI: Approved”. Click the Edit button to gain access to the full proposal application.

      Format of the Full Proposal: Proposal attachments should be typewritten, single-spaced and in typeface no smaller than 10-point font. Margins, in all directions, must be at least ½ inch.

      The proposal should reflect a common scientific vision of the two departments.

      Full Proposals Contain the Following Elements:

      1. Title Page:
        1. Application Title will be pre-populated with the title entered in the LOI section.
        2. If applicable, resubmission data will be pre-populated with information entered in the LOI section.
      1. Enable Other Users to Access this Proposal: This screen allows users to give other users access to the grant application, if necessary.
      1. Applicant: This information is pre-loaded from the applicant’s professional profile.
      1. Organization/Institution: Institutional approval is indicated by the Signing Official and Financial/Fiscal Officer selected within this section. Select the appropriate officials from the drop-down list or enter the email address of a new official and click on ‘Add’. Click on the “Save” or “close window” link – the official will now be listed as the assigned Signing Official or Financial/Fiscal officer.
      1. Proposal Attachments (uploaded as PDF documents):
        • Scientific Novelty and Importance of the Proposed Collaboration (4 page limit):
          • What novel ideas will the collaboration bring to mathematics? What novel ideas will it bring to the ‘X’ discipline?
          • What new collaborations and possibilities will the award produce?
        • Plan for Realizing the Collaboration (5 page limit):
          • Individual statements from the faculty of participating departments outlining planned collaborations.
          • Specific current and proposed institutional structures that will foster the further development of collaborations between the two departments and the integration of the new Chair into each of them.
          • Description of how funds for support of postdoctoral fellows and graduate students will be spent so as to contribute to the Chair holder’s educational and research activities.
          • Specifications from both departments regarding the division of Chair teaching responsibilities between the two departments.
        • Letter(s) of Interest from the Prospective Chair Holder(s) (3 page limit per letter): Each letter should outline the prospective Chair holder’s vision of how the additional funding from the Simons Foundation for students, postdoctoral fellows and other activities will be used to establish new links between the two departments and, more generally, between the disciplines involved.
        • CV for Candidate: upload a CV for each prospective Chair holder.
        • Institutional Engagement with the Position (3 page limit):
          • How will the appointment fit into the overall strategy of the university?
          • A letter from the president confirming the university’s commitment from the institution to raise funds to match the endowment.
          • Specific commitments of the institution to activities and support that foster and amplify the Simons Foundation’s investment in this position; this may include the hiring of additional faculty in the area, the creation of a new center (with other associated faculty), or the guarantee of continuing support for the program after the end of the foundation’s support.
        • Signed Signature Page: Downloaded in the Signature Page(s) section of the application, signed by the Applicant, Signing Official, and Financial Officer, and then re-uploaded as a proposal attachment.
      2. Validate: Click the ‘Validate’ button to check for any missing REQUIRED information or files. All missing required information will be listed on the screen. Please correct any missing information before submitting your application.
      1. Signature Page(s): Once all sections are completed, the Signed Signature Page is to be downloaded in this section of the application, signed by the Applicant, Signing Official, and Financial Officer, and then re-uploaded as a proposal attachment.
      1. Submit: This section will only appear if the deadline has not passed.

      Simons Foundation Division for Mathematics and the Physical Sciences Contact Information:
      mps@simonsfoundation.org
      212-524-6966

      proposalCENTRAL Contacts:
      pcsupport@altum.com
      800-875-2562

      Download the Math+X Application Instructions here.

      1. Is $1.5 million half the cost of the Simons Chair or the whole cost?plus--large

        The amount of $1.5 million is less than or equal to half the cost of the Chair and is the maximum endowment the Simons Foundation will commit to the establishment of the position.

      2. Would the foundation accept a higher level of matching funds?plus--large

        We would certainly accept, and welcome, a higher level of matching funds ($1.5 million from the Simons Foundation and $2.5 million from another donor, for example).

      3. Would the foundation be amenable to two endowments if the university were to provide a higher level of matching funds?plus--large

        Although the foundation would welcome a higher level of matching funds, the foundation is only interested in one endowment.

      4. Can institutional resources be used toward the matching funds?plus--large

        The foundation will allow funds to come from institutional sources.

      5. Can bequests or unrestricted gifts count toward the matching funds?plus--large

        Yes.

      6. Are the matching funds required before the letter of intent (LOI) or full proposal is submitted?plus--large

        No. The matching funds are not required before the LOI or the full proposal is submitted. An institutional commitment to provide the funds is needed. The foundation will work with the awarded institution to determine the funding timetable. The preference is within a year of the Chair’s start date. Endowment funds from the foundation will be provided as they are matched.

      7. May the appointment be split between more than one X partner department?plus--large

        The foundation would be happy to consider proposals in which the position is split between more than one X partner department. It would be important to show, however, how the interdepartmental arrangement will lead to significant new collaborations and/or significant enhancements of collaborations that have begun already.

      8. Does the X partner have to be a university department?plus--large

        The X partner may be a formal academic unit or an independent center. It is critical, however, to show that an independent center is an effective way of promoting new collaborations and/or extending old ones.

      9. Do the candidates for the Simons Chair need to be of a certain rank? Can non-tenured faculty or faculty at the assistant or associate level be hired for this joint professorship?plus--large

        There is no rank requirement, although the candidate for the Math+X Chair should have an appropriate amount of seniority to be able to fulfill the duties of the position, most importantly bridging connections between the two departments.

      10. Can the institution appoint a current faculty member to this position?plus--large

        Yes, as long as the faculty member appointed to the Chair generates substantial new collaborative activity.

      11. Do the prospective Chair holders need to be mathematicians?plus--large

        The foundation prefers that the Chair candidates be mathematicians.

      12. Does the foundation expect to be involved with the selection of subsequent Chair holders?plus--large

        The Simons Foundation does not plan to be involved with the selection of subsequent Chair holders. The foundation will evaluate annually the impact of the Chair Activities Award, and the renewal of these funds after the first three years will be dependent on these evaluations.

      13. Are non-U.S. institutions eligible to apply to the Math+X Program?plus--large

        Only U.S.-based institutions are eligible to apply.

      14. How flexible is the foundation regarding the distribution of funds between graduate students and postdoctoral fellows?plus--large

        The Simons Foundation wishes for the funds to be expended in the most efficient manner and invites requests from the Chair holder to redistribute the funds provided.

      15. What kind of information about current and proposed activity should be discussed in the “Plan for Realizing the Collaboration”?plus--large

        The Simons Foundation recognizes the difficulty in establishing cross-disciplinary activities; for this reason, it is important to document current interdepartmental connections and provide a plan to increase these connections with the appointment of the joint Chair. Indication of specific activities to be undertaken by the Chair or with the additional funding is helpful.

      16. I already have a faculty member capable of interacting with other departments. Could I use the grant to establish a group of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows shared between departments?plus--large

        The Simons Foundation will consider such a proposal if the existing senior member is in a position to devote sufficient time to this interdepartmental effort.

      17. Where do I submit my letter of intent (LOI) and full proposal?plus--large

        Login to proposalCENTRAL (https://proposalcentral.altum.com/default.asp?GMID=50). You will find the Math+X: Encouraging Interactions application in the list of Simons Foundation funding opportunities. Click “Apply Now” to start the application. Please see the Application Instructions for further information.

      18. Do I need approval from the grants office at my institution to submit an application?plus--large

        The Simons Foundation does require institutional officer signatures to submit an application. Please check with institution policies regarding application submission.

      19. Who would be the most appropriate signing official and financial officer to sign the proposal signature page?plus--large

        The foundation leaves this decision to the applicant’s discretion. Officially, the signatures would correspond to those that have been designated as the signing official and financial/fiscal officer in the Institution/Organization section of the application.

      20. How do I get in touch with proposalCENTRAL for technical questions?plus--large

        Email pcsupport@altum.com or call 800-875-5862.

      21. What file formats are acceptable when uploading application attachments?plus--large

        PDF is the only file format accepted.

      22. Are deadline times adjusted for time zones?plus--large

        No. Deadlines on the application are in Eastern Standard Time. We strongly recommend registering early and submitting applications with ample time for corrections prior to the deadline hour. Heavy site traffic can slow page-load times. Submissions will be blocked after the deadline has passed.

      23. I cannot find the “Submit” button. Where is it?plus--large

        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. Requests should be submitted to mps@simonsfoundation.org. 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 at pcsupport@altum.com.

      24. I get an error message citing a missing section when I try to submit.plus--large

        Please click the “Validate” button to review the application for missing requirements. If you are still receiving error messages after completing and saving the indicated sections, please contact proposalCENTRAL Customer Support at pcsupport@altum.com.

      25. Is validating my application sufficient for submission?plus--large

        No. Validating the application only checks for errors and will alert you to missing requirements. If the application is complete, you must click on “Submit.” You will receive an email within approximately ten minutes. If you do not receive confirmation in this time, please contact proposalCENTRAL Customer Support at pcsupport@altum.com. After successful submission, your proposal will be listed under the “In Progress” tab with the status “Submitted.”

      26. Is a confirmation email sent when I submit my letter of intent (LOI) and full proposal?plus--large

        A confirmation email is sent upon submission. Make sure that spam filters allow emails from pcsupport@altum.com. If you have submitted your application and have not received a confirmation email from proposalCENTRAL within ten minutes, please contact proposalCENTRAL Customer Support at pcsupport@altum.com.

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