2023 Simons Early Career Investigator in Aquatic Microbial Ecology and Evolution Awards

Open
LOI Deadline
Important Dates
  • LOI Deadline
  • LOI Notification
  • Full Proposal Deadline (Finalists Only)
  • Award Notification
  • Award Start Date
Important Dates
  • LOI Deadline
  • LOI Notification
  • Full Proposal Deadline (Finalists Only)
  • Award Notification
  • Award Start Date
Contact Info

This program was titled “Early Career Investigator in Marine Microbial Ecology and Evolution Awards” from 2015-2022.

The Simons Foundation is now accepting applications for its Simons Early Career Investigator in Aquatic Microbial Ecology and Evolution Awards. The deadline for receipt of letters of intent (LOI) is November 4, 2022, 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Overview

Microbes inhabit and sustain all habitats on Earth. In both marine and freshwater systems, microbes capture solar energy, catalyze biogeochemical transformations of important elements, produce and consume greenhouse gases, and provide the base of the food web.

The purpose of these awards is to help launch the careers of outstanding investigators in the fields of microbial ecology and evolution in marine or natural freshwater systems, who will advance our understanding through experiments, modeling or theory. Investigators must be currently active in basic research addressing fundamental questions in microbial ecology and/or evolution in natural aquatic systems, excluding research focusing on the microbiomes of animals or plants, problems related to pollution and paleoceanography and/or geobiology.

Eligibility

Applicants must hold a Ph.D. or equivalent degree. They must currently hold a tenure-track, tenured or, for institutions with no tenure track, an equivalent independent position in an institution in the U.S. or Canada (in a campus within these countries) and have carried out research in such a position for at least one year and no more than five years (start date of first independent position must be between November 2017 and November 2021). They must be the principal investigator (PI) or co-PI currently or within the past year on a research grant from a national governmental agency or major national or international foundation that awards direct funding to their institution for their research in the field of microbial ecology and/or evolution in marine or natural freshwater systems. They may also be eligible if they hold such a grant in a closely related field AND are an author on a publication in the field of aquatic microbial ecology or evolution within the last three years. Please contact lifegrants@simonsfoundation.org to confirm eligibility under these circumstances.

About the Awards

Grants will be for $270,000 USD per year, including indirect costs (limited to 20 percent of modified total direct costs), for a period of three years, subject to annual reviews and continuation of research in areas relevant to the purpose of this program. Appropriate expenses include salary support for the investigator and postdoctoral and graduate research assistants, travel, equipment, supplies and other research expenses. Allowable indirect costs to the primary institution for subcontracts are not included in the $270,000 budget threshold (see grant policies). Awards will begin April 1, 2023. Awards will be governed by the Simons Foundation policies, which can be found at http://www.simonsfoundation.org/funding/policies-and-forms/.

Submission of Letter of Intent

Prospective applicants must submit a letter of intent (LOI) by November 4, 2022, 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time. LOIs must be completed electronically and submitted through the Simons Award Manager (SAM). Please refer to the How to Apply instructions for further details.

The following information must be submitted:

  1. Biosketch (NSF- or NIH-style format). Include a list of all (not selected) publications with the complete reference (up to 10 authors; if greater than 10, give the number of authors and list the senior author) and with asterisks marking members of your lab. Append a list of past, current and pending support, including names of PI and co-PIs and total direct costs to your lab.
  2. Letter of Intent Narrative, which must include:
    1. Most important publication. Describe the significance of your most important publication during the last five years and your contribution to the work reported in the paper (250 words). Provide the complete reference for this publication (see above if more than 10 authors).
    2. Research statement (one page). Describe your long-term research vision. What is/are the important question(s) that you are addressing? What is unique about your program?
    3. Research project (two pages, excluding references and up to three figures). Outline a plan for a specific project to provide an example of your approaches and thinking. Provide a title for the project. The award will be for general career support, not support for this specific project.
  3. Two letters of recommendation from former mentors or other scientists, preferably not from your current institution, who work in your field and are familiar with your research. Confidential letters must be submitted through SAM by November 4, 2022, 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Review Process

The review process will include evaluations by experts in the field, who will make recommendations to the Simons Foundation Life Sciences staff. Finalists selected for submission of a full application will be announced by January 20, 2023. All finalists will receive an award pending a complete full application.

Full applications will require submission of a budget and brief budget justification, renewable reagents and data-sharing plan, and signature indicating institutional approval by February 17, 2023. Applicants will be notified of decisions by March 10, 2023. The foundation anticipates appointing up to seven investigators in 2023.

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.

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Important Dates
  • LOI Deadline
  • LOI Notification
  • Full Proposal Deadline (Finalists Only)
  • Award Notification
  • Award Start Date
Contact Info

The submission deadline for LOIs is November 4, 2022, 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Please plan carefully with your institution and references to meet this deadline.

Applications must be submitted via the Simons Award Manager (SAM). Please click on the Funding Opportunities icon and navigate to the Simons Early Career Investigator in Aquatic Microbial Ecology and Evolution call. Click the Create Application button to begin. Applications should be started and submitted under the applicant’s own account in SAM.

Informational Session for Potential Applicants

For instructions on how to submit an application through our new grants management system SAM, the Simons Foundation will hold an informational session on Tuesday, October 18 – Click here to register.

Additionally, informational videos on submitting applications in SAM can be found here.

LETTER OF INTENT (LOI) SUBMISSION:

  • Proposal Tab:
    • Complete all fields in this section. Note that you are required to use the provided template for the LOI Narrative. Please download by clicking the link in the field instructions, then upload the completed document using the Upload button.
    • Please enter “Simons Early Career Investigator in Aquatic Microbial Ecology and Evolution Award” as the title.
  • Contacts & Personnel Tab: Institution contacts are not required at the LOI stage. However, if you need to add an administrator or other contact to assist with completion of the LOI, you would add that person on this tab. Each person added with application access must have their own SAM user account.
  • Letter of Reference Tab:
    • Two confidential letters of recommendation from former mentors or other scientists, preferably not from your current institution, who work in your field and are familiar with your research, are required with LOI submission.
    • 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 LOI until two references are uploaded. Please plan accordingly with your references.
    • NOTE: References will not have access to any portion of your LOI 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 LOI via their regular system login. If your references do not have either of these roles, they will not have access to your LOI.
  • Publications & Other Support Tab: Please complete all fields in this section.
  • 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.

Submit Application: When the LOI application is complete, please click on the Submit Application button to submit to the foundation. Please note that you will not be able to submit an application if the deadline has passed.

LOI Approval:
A submitted LOI will appear in the Submitted queue of the Applications in Progress table on your SAM home page. If an LOI is approved, the status changes to In Progress. Click on the record to gain access to the full proposal application.

FULL PROPOSAL SUBMISSION

The deadline for full proposal submission is February 17, 2023, 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Please plan carefully with your institution to meet this deadline.

NOTE: Fields that were required for LOI submission will not be editable during full application submission.

  • Proposal Tab: Please complete the Data & Renewable Reagents section.
  • Contacts & Personnel Tab:
    • Institution contacts are required at the full application stage. 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. Please refer to the allowable expenses outlined in the RFA and provide justification as appropriate.

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, please 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, 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.

Important Dates
  • LOI Deadline
  • LOI Notification
  • Full Proposal Deadline (Finalists Only)
  • Award Notification
  • Award Start Date
Contact Info
  1. Where do I submit the LOI? Can I email or mail it?plus--large

    All LOIs must be submitted online through SAM. The Simons Foundation does not accept emailed or mailed LOIs.

  2. Do I need an institutional sign-off to submit an LOI?plus--large

    No. However, successful finalists will need an institutional sign-off for the full proposal.

  3. Can postdoctoral associates apply as Principal Investigators (PIs)? plus--large

    No, postdoctoral associates may not apply as PIs. All applicants and key collaborators must hold a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent degree and have a faculty position or the equivalent at a college, university, medical school or other research facility. Funds may not be used for stipend supplementation unless specifically authorized under the terms of the program from which the funds are derived.

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

    Applicants must currently hold a tenure-track, tenured or equivalent independent position at a U.S. or Canadian institution (in a campus within these countries).

  5. Can multiple Principal Investigators apply for a grant?plus--large

    No, we are not accepting applications with multiple PIs for this program.

  6. I will have one or more collaborators on my proposal. May I include multiple PIs or other senior personnel on my budget?plus--large

    No. You may provide funds for others to work on your research activities, but they may not be listed as multiple PIs or in the senior personnel section of the proposal, within the primary budget or within a sub-award to a collaborating institution. However, you may pay someone as a consultant in your project or pay for his or her travel and field/lab expenses, materials and supplies, or access fee to a laboratory.

  7. Can Principal Investigators submit multiple applications to this program? plus--large

    No, PIs cannot submit multiple applications to this program.

  8. What are the file format, font style and size requirements of the LOI? plus--large

    Please submit a PDF of the LOI document using the template provided in SAM. Type should be set in 11-point, legible font. All margins should be set at 0.5 inches.

  9. Can I submit a budget with the LOI?plus--large

    No, a detailed budget is not requested with the LOI.

  10. Where is the Submit Application button?plus--large

    The Submit Application 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. If the problem persists, please contact lifegrants@simonsfoundation.org.

    If the deadline has passed, the submission period has closed and you will not be able to submit.

  11. I get an error message when I try to submit.plus--large

    The Check Application Progress button reviews your LOI 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 samsupport@simonsfoundation.org.

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

    No, please be advised that deadlines are in Eastern Time. We recommend registering early and submitting LOIs with ample time for corrections prior to the deadline hour. Site traffic can slow page-load times. You will not be able to submit after the deadline time has passed.

  13. Is there a confirmation email when I submit?plus--large

    A confirmation email is sent upon submission of the LOI. Make sure that spam filters allow emails from no-reply@simonsfoundation.org. Additionally, the LOI will be in the Submitted tab of the Applications in Progress table after submission.

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

    Before you can make changes to your submitted LOI, you must first contact the Simons Foundation. Please email lifegrants@simonsfoundation.org. LOIs can only be changed prior to the deadline.

  15. Does the Simons Foundation grant extensions for LOIs?plus--large

    No extensions will be given. If you have any difficulties, please email lifegrants@simonsfoundation.org.

  16. How do I submit a full proposal?plus--large

    With an accepted LOI, you gain access to the full proposal application in the Simons Award Manager (SAM). Log in and go to the Draft tab of the Applications in Progress table. Click the application you want to complete. Once all sections are complete, click Submit Application to send your application.

  17. Is there a minimum percent effort for Principal Investigators (PIs)?plus--large

    We seek applications from independent investigators who can devote a substantial portion of time to this project. While we do not require a minimum PI effort, we expect the PI to commit to a level of effort that reflects a leading role in the project.

  18. Does the PI need to sign the signature page?plus--large

    No, only the signing official may sign and submit the application.

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

    The Check Application Progress button reviews your full proposal for missing sections. The submission instructions list the required sections and attachments. You must complete the missing items listed. If you are still receiving error messages after completing and saving the indicated sections, please contact lifegrants@simonsfoundation.org.

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

    Before you can make changes to your submitted application, you must first contact the Simons Foundation. Please email lifegrants@simonsfoundation.org. Applications can only be changed prior to the deadline.

  21. The deadline for notification has passed. What is the status of my proposal?plus--large

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

This program was titled “Early Career Investigator in Marine Microbial Ecology and Evolution Awards” from 2015-2022.

2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

Jeff Bowman, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego

Kyle Edwards, Ph.D.
University of Hawaii at Manoa  

Katherine Mackey, Ph.D.
University of California, Irvine

Jodi Young, Ph.D.
University of Washington

2017

Andrew Barton, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego (Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

Erin Bertrand, Ph.D.
Dalhousie University

Anne Dekas, Ph.D.
Stanford University

Naomi M. Levine, Ph.D.
University of Southern California

2016

Andrew Alverson, Ph.D.
University of Arkansas

Otto X. Cordero, Ph.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Karen Lloyd, Ph.D.
University of Tennessee

Jacob Waldbauer, Ph.D.
University of Chicago

2015

Jake Bailey, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

Tanja Bosak, Ph.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Alyson Santoro, Ph.D.
University of California, Santa Barbara

Frank Stewart, Ph.D.
Georgia Institute of Technology

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