Pivot Fellowship Request for Applications

Closed
Important Dates
  • Application available:
  • Application deadline: 12 p.m. ET
  • Applicants notified of funding decisions:
  • Fellowships commence:
    On or before February 1, 2025
Important Dates
  • Application available:
  • Application deadline: 12 p.m. ET
  • Applicants notified of funding decisions:
  • Fellowships commence:
    On or before February 1, 2025
Contact Info

Opportunity

Science benefits from an exchange of ideas, knowledge and approaches across disciplines. Some of the most impactful work in history has come from individuals who studied across fields. Marie Curie was a physicist and a chemist, winning a Nobel prize in both categories. Her contributions to physics were recognized for the discovery of radium, and her isolation of the element earned the prize for chemistry. Louis Pasteur was a chemist whose doctoral thesis focused on arrangement of atoms in solids using crystallography. Following an interest in the molecular asymmetry of biological molecules of microorganisms, he made his famous discovery that microorganisms cause disease. These extraordinary individuals brought knowledge and insight from one field to another and made an outsized impact on the pursuit of scientific understanding.

In this spirit, the Simons Foundation invites applications for the Pivot Fellowship program which will support researchers who have a strong track record of success and achievement in their current field, and a deep interest, curiosity and drive to make contributions to a new discipline. The fellowship will enable today’s brightest minds to apply their talent and expertise to a new field and will consist of one training year where the fellow will be embedded in a lab of a mentor to learn the new discipline and its culture. Mentorship and support are essential for learning a new discipline and culture. In addition to the qualifications and potential of the applicant, the suitability of the mentor and the environment for mentorship will be strongly considered in the application process.

Eligibility

Fellows and mentors must hold a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent degree in the natural sciences (astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth sciences, neuroscience and physics), engineering, mathematics, data Science or computer science — and all sub-disciplines therein — and be faculty at an academic institution or hold an equivalent position. Fellows must demonstrate that the fellowship will take place in a new discipline, distinct from their current field of study, within astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth sciences, neuroscience, physics or mathematics — and all sub-disciplines therein. In order to receive the fellowship, fellows must be approved by their institution for a full year of leave. Fellows must not hold any other fellowship that will provide them with salary support during the training year of the Pivot Fellowship.

Level and Duration of Funding

A Pivot Fellowship provides one year of salary support of the fellow’s academic-year salary, whether normally paid over 9 or 12 months and a $10,000 research, travel and professional development allowance during the fellowship training year. Mentors will receive a $50,000 research fund during the fellowship year. The mentor’s research funds may be used for salary support for the mentor and lab personnel, small and large equipment (including major research instrumentation), supplies, travel, publication, tuition and other research expenses. Indirect costs are limited to 20 percent of the modified total direct costs (see grant policies). Funding for fellowships must be activated within 18 months of award notification. At the end of the fellowship year, fellows will be invited to submit an application for a three (3)-year research award in the new field for up to $1.5 million, including indirect costs, over three (3) years.

Instructions for Submission

Applicants must apply through Simons Award Manager (SAM), sam.simonsfoundation.org.

The deadline to apply is 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET), May 15, 2023.

Fellows and mentors will each submit a unique application in SAM independently of each other.

The application for fellows can be found in SAM under, Presidential Discretionary-Pivot Fellow-2023.

The application for mentors can be found in SAM under, Presidential Discretionary-Pivot Mentor-2023.

Please refer to the How to Apply tab for detailed instructions.

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Many of the greatest ideas and discoveries come from a diverse mix of minds, backgrounds and experiences. The Simons Foundation is committed to grantmaking that inspires and supports greater diversity and inclusiveness by cultivating a funding environment that ensures representation of all identities and differences and equitable access to information and resources for all applicants and grantees.

The Simons Foundation provides equal opportunities to all applicants for funding without regard to race, religion, color, age, sex, pregnancy, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic disposition, neurodiversity, disability, veteran status or any other protected category under federal, state and local law. The foundation also funds programs directed at supporting scientists from disadvantaged backgrounds or underrepresented groups, often working closely with professional societies and other funding agencies.

Read More
Important Dates
  • Application available:
  • Application deadline: 12 p.m. ET
  • Applicants notified of funding decisions:
  • Fellowships commence:
    On or before February 1, 2025
Contact Info

The deadline for proposal submission is 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET), May 15, 2023 Please plan carefully with your institution and references to meet this deadline. No extensions will be given.
Applications must be submitted via the Simons Award Manager (SAM). For instructions on how to submit an application through our new grants management system SAM, informational videos can be found here.

Fellows and mentors will each submit a unique application independently of each other in SAM.

The application for fellows can be found in SAM under, Presidential Discretionary-Pivot Fellow-2023.

The application for mentors can be found in SAM under, Presidential Discretionary-Pivot Mentor-2023.

Fellow’s Application

Please click on the Funding Opportunities icon and navigate to the Presidential Discretionary-Pivot Fellow-2023 call. Click the Create Application button to begin. Applications should be started and submitted under the applicant’s own account in SAM.

  • Proposal Tab:
    • Applicant Details: The applicant may use the Edit Profile button to update their information as needed. Complete all required fields, including position/title, academic rank and ORCID iD.
    • Degrees: Click the Add/Modify Degree(s) button to provide this information.
    • Application Details: Complete all required fields, including title, start date and end date.
    • Proposal: The following information must be entered/uploaded:
      • Mentor Name: Enter the name of the mentor.
      • Scientific Narrative (up to six (6) pages): Note that you are required to use the provided template for the Scientific Narrative. Please download by clicking the link in the field instructions, then upload the completed document using the Upload button. Please describe the work you want to pursue in a new discipline, and how it differs from your current work, including:
        1. What inspired you to pursue changing disciplines?
        2. What are the questions you hope to be able to understand more deeply and address as a result of this fellowship?
        3. What do you hope to bring to the new field from your current discipline?
        4. Explain how and why the new discipline is a big change from your current field. Questions to consider include:
          1. To what extent is the new discipline a different culture?
          2. Is there a different approach to publication in the new discipline?
          3. Is there a different approach to experiment or theory in the new discipline?
        5. How will this fellowship affect your career development?
      • Summary of Previous Scientific Accomplishments (up to two (2) pages) Use the provided template. Please download by clicking the link in the field instructions, then upload the completed document using the Upload button.
      • Curriculum Vitae: Upload CV.
  • Contacts & Personnel Tab:
    • Institution contacts are required. You must add at least one institution signing official and financial officer to the Institution Administrative Contacts section before you will be able to submit.
    • Project personnel who will be named in the budget must be added to the Project Personnel section on this tab before they will display as available options in the budget module. This does not apply to TBD personnel.
  • Budget Tab: Click the Edit/Modify button to add a detailed budget for one year of salary support for the Fellow, fringe and IDC. Do not include any other expenses.
    • Note that the budget cannot be completed until project dates have been entered.
  • Letter of Reference Tab:
    • Two to three (2-3) confidential letters of recommendation are required from research scientists who are not the applicant’s mentor. In addition to the standard elements of a letter of recommendation, please ask your letter writers to speak to why you are specially positioned to switch academic disciplines.
    • Instructions for navigating this tab are included within SAM. Note that you should enter a date in the Response Date and click Save Draft prior to sending reference invitations so that the email invitation sent by the system contains the due date you set.
    • You will not be able to submit your application until at least two references are uploaded. Please plan accordingly with your references.
    • NOTE: References will not have access to any portion of your application during the upload process. References who are also an approved Institution Official at your institution, or who are added as an Institution Administrative Contact in the Contacts & Personnel section, will be able to see the application via their regular system login. If your references do not have either of these roles, they will not have access to your application.
  • Communications Tab: Nothing is required in this tab.
  • Check Application Progress: Click the Check Application Progress button to check for any missing required information or files. All missing required information will be listed at the top of the screen and must be corrected before the application can be submitted.
  • Send for Sign-off: When the application is complete, click on the Send for Sign-off button to send to your signing official for signature. You will receive a notification when the application is signed.
  • Submit Application: When the full proposal application is complete and signed, click on the Submit Application button. A confirmation page will appear once the application is successfully submitted. It will appear in the Submitted tab of the Applications in Progress table. Please note that you will not be able to submit an application if the deadline has passed.

Mentor’s Application:

Please click on the Funding Opportunities icon and navigate to the Presidential Discretionary- Pivot Mentor-2023 call. Click the Create Application button to begin. Applications should be started and submitted under the applicant’s own account in SAM.

  • Proposal Tab:
    • Applicant Details: The applicant may use the Edit Profile button to update their information as needed. Complete all required fields, including position/title, academic rank and ORCID iD.
    • Degrees: Click the Add/Modify Degree(s) button to provide this information.
    • Degrees: Click the Add/Modify Degree(s) button to provide this information.
    • Application Details: Complete all required fields, including title, start date and end date.
    • Proposal: The following information must be entered/uploaded:
      • Fellow Name: Enter the name of the fellow.
      • Fellowship Mentor Plan (two (2) pages): Note that you are required to use the provided template for the Fellowship Mentor Plan. Please download by clicking the link in the field instructions, then upload the completed document using the Upload button. An invested and committed Mentor is the key to learning a new discipline. A statement of mentorship should address:
        1. Mentor’s willingness and availability to host applicant for the fellowship
        2. Applicant qualifications
        3. Plan for how the applicant will be trained in the new discipline, including:
          1. What are the most important aspects of the scientific culture of the new field?
          2. What questions in the new field are important and why?
          3. What details and ways of looking at those questions are indispensable for making an impact on the new field?
        4. Perspective on how bringing the applicant into the new discipline will benefit the field.
      • Mentorship History (up to two (2) pages): Note that you are required to use the provided template for the Mentorship History. Please download by clicking the link in the field instructions, then upload the completed document using the Upload button. Please provide brief descriptions of up to 10 past mentees, including their scientific accomplishments under your mentorship, current position and current scientific field.
      • Curriculum Vitae: Upload CV.
  • Contacts & Personnel Tab:
    • Institution contacts are required. You must add at least one institution signing official and financial officer to the Institution Administrative Contacts section before you will be able to submit.
    • Project personnel who will be named in the budget must be added to the Project Personnel section on this tab before they will display as available options in the budget module. This does not apply to TBD personnel.
  • Budget Tab: Click the Edit/Modify button to add a detailed budget to add the mentor’s $50,000 research fund and the fellow’s $10,000 research fund, and IDC. Do not include any other expenses. Research funds do not need to be itemized in the application budget. Please enter these in the budget as two separate line items in the Other Expenses section labeled “Mentor research fund” and “Fellow research fund”.
    • Note that the budget cannot be completed until project dates have been entered.
  • Communications Tab: Nothing is required in this tab.
  • Check Application Progress: Click the Check Application Progress button to check for any missing required information or files. All missing required information will be listed at the top of the screen and must be corrected before the application can be submitted.
  • Send for Sign-off: When the application is complete, click on the Send for Sign-off button to send to your signing official for signature. You will receive a notification when the application is signed.
  • Submit Application: When the full proposal application is complete and signed, click on the Submit Application button. A confirmation page will appear once the application is successfully submitted. It will appear in the Submitted tab of the Applications in Progress table. Please note that you will not be able to submit an application if the deadline has passed.
Important Dates
  • Application available:
  • Application deadline: 12 p.m. ET
  • Applicants notified of funding decisions:
  • Fellowships commence:
    On or before February 1, 2025
Contact Info
  1. How do I submit a proposal?plus--large

    Informational videos on submitting applications in SAM can be found here.

    Fellows and mentors will each submit a unique application in SAM independently of each other.

    The application for fellows can be found in SAM under, Presidential Discretionary-Pivot Fellow-2023.

    The application for mentors can be found in SAM under, Presidential Discretionary-Pivot Mentor-2023.

    Please refer to the How to Apply tab for detailed instructions.

  2. Can I email or mail my proposal?plus--large

    No. The Simons Foundation only accepts proposals submitted online via the Simons Award Manager (SAM), https://sam.simonsfoundation.org/.

  3. Do I need institutional sign-off to submit a proposal?plus--large

    Yes, the signing official must sign and submit the application. Please see the instructional video “Send an application for signature” found here.

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

    Yes, those with tenured and tenure-track positions are eligible for the fellowship.

  5. Can foreign institutions apply for this grant?plus--large

    Yes, foreign institutions may apply. Please see Simons Foundation policies regarding international grants.

  6. Does my faculty position need to be at a U.S. institution?plus--large

    No.

  7. Can the mentor and fellow be at the same institution?plus--large

    Yes, Pivot Fellows can be mentored anywhere, including their home institution.

  8. Can more than one faculty member at a university apply?plus--large

    Yes.

  9. Is there some criteria to establish how "academically distant" the mentor should be?plus--large

    Within the application, you will be asked to justify that you are pivoting to a new field within astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth sciences, neuroscience, physics or mathematics.

    Explain how and why the new discipline is a significant change from your current field. Questions to consider include:

    • To what extent is the new discipline a different culture?
    • Is there a different approach to publication in the new discipline?
    • Is there a different approach to experiment or theory in the new discipline?
  10. Is my project eligible for the Pivot Fellowship?plus--large

    Within the application, there will be an opportunity for you to explain the differences in your previous and proposed fields that our review committee will take into consideration.

  11. Does the mentor need to be "senior?" For example, would it be fine if my mentor was roughly my age?plus--large

    There are no seniority requirements for the mentor, though we will be evaluating how well they can guide you into the new field from their background and track record.

  12. What qualifies as a faculty equivalent position?plus--large

    There are positions at research institutes, etc. that are permanent, long-term positions at the level of faculty. Judged on a case-by-case basis.

  13. Can I submit an application for the Pivot Fellowship before I am offered a qualifying position?plus--large

    No, applicants must hold a faculty position at the time of application.

  14. My salary is being paid by a combination of sources, not related to my position as faculty at my institution. How would that work within the Pivot Fellowship scheme?plus--large

    Should you be selected for the fellowship, we will work with you and your institutions to the best of our ability to get you the funds.

  15. What are the font style and size requirements?plus--large

    Type should be set in legible 11-point font. All margins should be set at 0.5 inches.

  16. To whom is the grant awarded?plus--large

    Two separate grants will be awarded, one to the fellow’s institution, which will cover their salary support, and one to the mentor’s institution, for the research funds.

  17. Can I make changes to the proposal once it has been submitted?plus--large

    You must contact the Simons Foundation prior to 12:00 p.m. ET on May 15, 2023, the deadline to un-submit your application. Please email [email protected] if you would like to un-submit your proposal for any modifications.

  18. How do I submit?plus--large

    When the full proposal application is complete, please click on the Submit Application button. A confirmation page will appear once the application is successfully submitted. It will appear in the Submitted tab of the Applications in Progress table. Please note that you will not be able to submit an application if the deadline has passed. If the problem persists, please contact [email protected].

    The Submit button is located at the bottom right of the screen. You will be unable to submit if you have not provided all the required information. If the submission deadline has NOT passed, use the Check Application Progress button to check for missing requirements.

  19. Does the Simons Foundation grant extensions for proposals?plus--large

    No extensions will be given. If you have any difficulties, please email [email protected].

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

    No; please be advised that deadlines are in Eastern Time (ET). We recommend registering early and submitting proposals with ample time for corrections prior to the deadline hour. Site traffic can slow page-load times.

  21. Will I get a confirmation email after I submit?plus--large

    A confirmation email is sent upon submission. Make sure that spam filters allow emails from [email protected]. Additionally, the proposal will be in the Submitted tab of the Applications in Progress table after submission.

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

    The Check Application Progress button reviews your proposal for missing sections. The submission instructions list the required sections and attachments. You must complete the missing items listed in the error message. If you are still receiving error messages after completing and saving the indicated sections, please contact [email protected].

  23. The deadline for notification about whether or not I have been selected or not has passed. What is the status of my proposal?plus--large

    You should receive a notification within 24 hours of the deadline. Please check your spam filter settings if you have not received a notification by then.

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