Simons Fellows in Theoretical Physics

Important Dates
  • Application Deadline
  • Notification
  • Earliest Award Start Date
Contact Info

The Simons Foundation’s Mathematics and Physical Sciences (MPS) division invites applications for the Simons Fellows in Theoretical Physics program, which is intended to make sabbatical leaves more productive by extending them to a full academic year.


Research leaves from classroom teaching and administrative obligations can provide strong intellectual stimulation and lead to increased creativity and productivity in research.

Basis for Awards

The MPS division’s scientific advisory board will advise the foundation on the selection of awardees. Awards will be based on the applicant’s scientific accomplishments in the five-year period preceding the application and on the potential scientific impact of the work to be done during the leave period.

Level and Duration of Funding

A Simons Fellowship in Theoretical Physics provides salary replacement for up to 50 percent (up to a maximum of $100,000) of the Fellow’s current academic-year salary, whether normally paid over 9 or 12 months, and up to $25,000 for expenses related to the leave. The Fellow’s home institution will receive an additional 20 percent overhead on allowable expenses. Please note that the foundation’s indirect cost policy allows up to 20 percent of direct cost expenditures. Any unspent funds at the end of the award must be returned to the Simons Foundation.

The Simons Fellowship will fund up to 50 percent of the 2019–2020 academic year, where, for example, the full leave year period could be January 1, 2019, through December 31, 2019; September 1, 2019, through August 31, 2020; or January 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. Fellowship funding must be contiguous to the university-supported portion of the leave.

Fellowships awards and sabbatical periods may begin no earlier than January 1, 2019, and no later than January 1, 2020. The award and the sabbatical must finish no later than December 31, 2020.

Allowable Expenses

Salary replacement funds are to be used only to replace or partly replace salary during academic terms in which the recipient would otherwise be teaching or engaging in academic administration or other departmental or university committee work. The funding may not be used for summer salary (if salary is paid over nine months) or to increase the academic-year salary beyond the university rate. Please follow the university’s policy on costs associated with sabbaticals not supported by the university. If applicable, fringe benefits are allowed within the salary-replacement-funds category, but the total amount requested cannot exceed the maximum allowed ($100,000).

The additional funding is to be used to support expenses related to the leave in a manner consistent with the approved sabbatical plans. Allowable leave-related expenses include equipment, travel (including travel to the sabbatical location for the Fellow’s family members), housing (for the Fellow and the Fellow’s family), automobile rental, childcare and support for visitors (including meals). Salaries for students or research associates will not be supported, but funds may be used to help transport members of the Fellow’s research group to the sabbatical location (if different from the home institution) and provide housing. Leave-related expenses may be incurred at any time during the award period; they are not restricted to the terms in which salary is provided by the foundation.

Eligibility Requirements

A Simons Fellow in Theoretical Physics must have a teaching or administrative tenured position at the same U.S. or Canadian college or university within the physics or related department at the time of application, throughout the course of the sabbatical and in the term following the leave. This must be the applicant’s primary position. In addition, a Fellow must have an active current research program. Fellows cannot simultaneously hold a Simons Investigator award.

Eligibility for this year’s program is restricted to sabbatical-eligible faculty who wish to use the fellowship award for the purpose of extending at least a single-term research leave to a full academic year. The fellowship program will not support the extension of a full year of research leave to an additional term. In order to receive the Simons Fellowship, you must be approved by your institution for a full year of leave, consisting of two consecutive semesters or three consecutive quarters with at least 50 percent of the year fully paid by the home university and no more than 50 percent fully or partly supported by the fellowship. If funds from the foundation are insufficient to cover the salary needs for the period supported by the fellowship, other resources can be used for this purpose. The foundation will consider circumstances where, for example, the university covers 80 percent of a full year of leave and the fellowship covers the remaining 20 percent.

Previous fellowship awardees are allowed to apply for another fellowship as long as they follow their universities’ rules on sabbatical eligibility. Simons Fellows are not allowed to hold a Simons Investigator award during their fellowship.

Unspent Funds

Unspent funds at the end of the grant period must be returned to the foundation; no-cost extensions will typically not be considered.


A final progress report and financial statement will be due within 60 days of the end of the award period.

Number of Awards

The foundation expects to award up to 12 theoretical physics fellowships each year.

How to Apply

Applicants must apply through proposalCENTRAL ( The deadline to apply is September 27, 2018, 11:59:59 p.m. EDT.

Please refer to the How to Apply tab for instructions.




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Important Dates
  • Application Deadline
  • Notification
  • Earliest Award Start Date
Contact Info

Please see the general instructions for application submission.

Please be sure to submit a proposal using the appropriate application (Mathematics and Physical Sciences — Simons Fellows in Theoretical Physics).

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

Please complete the application as follows:

  1. Title Page: Enter the title of the application.
  2. Download Templates & Instructions: A “Home Institution Sabbatical Form” template is provided and must be used for the requirement noted below, under Proposal Attachments.
  3. Enable Other Users to Access this Proposal: This screen allows others to be granted access to the grant application, if necessary.
  4. Applicant: This information is preloaded from the applicant’s professional profile. Please indicate the applicant’s website, if applicable.
  5. Organization/Institution: This information is preloaded from the institutional profile. For both pre- and post-award management, select the appropriate signing official and financial officer 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. Please see the Simons Foundation grant policies for a description of the responsibilities of the signing official and financial officer.
  6. Abstract & Subject Classifications: Please provide a brief summary of where the applicant’s requested leave will take place and the main scientific goals during this time. Also, select subject classification(s) as appropriate.
  7. Budget Summary & Justification: Enter start and end dates for the proposed full year leave period and all requested budget amounts in USD. Please also provide a description of how the leave-related expense funding will be used.
  8. Proposal Attachments (attachments must be uploaded as unlocked PDFs; please confirm this before uploading):
    • Statement of Recent Work (two-page limit, plus up to one page for references): A statement explaining the candidate’s most significant scientific work over the previous five years.
    • Statement of Sabbatical Plans (two-page limit, plus up to one page for references): A statement summarizing the applicant’s plans for the entire leave period, the institution or institutions at which the leave is to be spent, and the main scientific goals.
    • Curriculum Vitae (two-page limit): Must include Ph.D. year, institution, advisor and positions held.
    • Current and Pending Support: The list of current and pending support should include all financial resources — whether federal, non-federal, commercial or institutional — available in direct support of the applicant’s research endeavors. Each support item listed should include the following:
      • indication of active or pending,
      • award number,
      • source of support,
      • title of project,
      • dates of approved/proposed project,
      • annual direct costs and
      • notification date (if known, and only for proposed projects).
    • Publications List: A list of up to five publications from the past five years and up to five other publications.
    • Students List: Current or recent (past five years) postdocs and Ph.D. students, including their dissertation topics and likely date of completion.
    • Home Institution Sabbatical Form: This form must be signed by the applicant’s department chair or other appropriate university authority verifying the following:
      • the applicant has a tenured faculty position;
      • the applicant is eligible for sabbatical or approved for the specified academic-year period;
      • the applicant’s academic-year salary for the leave period — if this is not yet finalized, please note the expected salary and expected date of salary increase;
      • provision of the percentage of total salary that will be covered by the award;
      • that the applicant will have a teaching or administrative position at the same U.S. or Canadian college or university through the semester following the proposed leave; and
      • university provision of full salary support for at least 50 percent of the full year leave period and that the university-supported portion of the leave is contiguous to the period supported by the foundation.

      Verification of sabbatical approval is not required at the time of application but must be provided to the foundation at least three months prior to the start of the applicant’s fellowship funding. The application must still include the “Home Institution Sabbatical Form” verifying as much of the information indicated above as is possible at the time of the application submission.

      This information must be verified using this form only. Applications that do not include this form will not be considered.

    • Letter from Other Institution (if applicable):
      • If the leave is to be taken at another institution or institutions, confirmation must be submitted from the host institution(s) in the form of a letter signed by relevant department chairs or other appropriate university authorities stating that the visit is approved and briefly describing the facilities that will be made available to the applicant.
      • If the letter of confirmation from the prospective host institution(s) cannot be obtained, then the application must include a backup plan describing what would be done if the visit(s) were not possible. The location of the sabbatical must be confirmed, in the form of the above-mentioned letter, to the foundation at least three months prior to the start of the applicant’s fellowship funding.
      • The location must be at either the originally proposed host institution or at the institution(s) specified in the backup plan, unless explicit permission is obtained from the foundation no later than three months before the start of the leave.
    • 501(c)(3) Equivalency Determination Letter from the IRS (if applicable):
      • See Simons Foundation policies for requirements for grants to international institutions.
      • For Canadian institutions (only applicable to the home institution), upload a copy of the institution’s equivalency determination letter from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) stating exemption under 501(c)(3) and, furthermore, either a 509(a)(1), (2) or (3) classification.
      • If a Canadian institution does not have this letter at the application stage, do not upload anything for this attachment type.
      • If a Canadian institution is selected for funding and does not have the aforementioned documentation, the foundation will require that the institution complete an equivalency determination with NGOsource. The foundation will handle all administrative and financial aspects of this determination.
      • IRS letters should not be uploaded for U.S. institutions.
    • Signed Signature Page:
      • Must be downloaded in the Signature Page(s) section of the application, signed by the designated signing official from the institution’s sponsored research office (or equivalent) and then re-uploaded as a proposal attachment.
      • Please note that not all fields on the generated signature page will be populated and those fields should be left blank.
      • Only the signed first page of the signature page PDF file needs to be uploaded for this requirement.
      • An application should not be submitted without a signature on the signed signature page.
  9. Validate: Click the Validate button to check for any missing required information or files. All missing required information will be listed on the screen and must be corrected before the application can be submitted.
  10. 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 signing official from the institution’s sponsored research office (or equivalent) and then re-uploaded as a proposal attachment.
  11. Submit: This section will only appear if the deadline has not passed.
Important Dates
  • Application Deadline
  • Notification
  • Earliest Award Start Date
Contact Info
  1. If my university will refer to my Simons Fellowship period as a “leave without pay,” am I still eligible to apply?plus--large

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

  2. Can I apply for a Simons Fellowship for a research leave that is not a sabbatical?plus--large

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

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

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

  4. Can I hold a Collaboration Grant for Mathematicians and a Simons Fellowship at the same time?plus--large

    Yes, the foundation allows holding both awards simultaneously.

  5. Can the Simons Fellowship support a sabbatical in which the recipient remains at his or her home institution?plus--large

    Yes, the fellowship can support this type of sabbatical.

  6. Can my sabbatical location be outside of the United States or Canada?plus--large

    Yes, this is allowable.

  7. Although I will not be teaching any classes during my sabbatical, I will have graduate students. Is this acceptable?plus--large

    Yes, this is acceptable.

  8. My research area is biological physics. Will the program consider my application?plus--large

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

  9. If I am not appointed in a physics department, am I eligible for a Simons Fellowship in Theoretical Physics?plus--large

    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.

  10. 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?plus--large

    No, applicants to the Simons Fellows in Mathematics program must have a tenured, primary position in the mathematics department.

  11. Will the foundation accept applications from computer scientists?plus--large

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

  12. Would you consider mathematical neuroscience an eligible field for the Simons Fellows in Mathematics program?plus--large

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

  13. Can the Simons Fellowship be used to match another external fellowship?plus--large

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

  14. 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?plus--large

    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.

  15. Is there a limit to the number of applicants per university?plus--large

    No, there is no limit.

  16. Are emeriti faculty eligible?plus--large

    Retired and emeriti faculty are not eligible.

  17. I have an adjunct appointment. Am I eligible?plus--large

    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.

  18. I am not a U.S. or Canadian citizen; am I eligible to be a Simons Fellow?plus--large

    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.

  19. If I am not awarded a Simons Fellowship this year, may I reapply next year?plus--large

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

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

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

  21. How do I get reimbursed for eligible expenses?plus--large

    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.


Thomas Baumgarte, Ph.D.

Bowdoin College

Raphael Bousso, Ph.D.

University of California, Berkeley

Bulbul Chakraborty, Ph.D.

Brandeis University

Marc Favata, Ph.D.

Montclair State University

Gregory Fiete, Ph.D.

University of Texas at Austin

Julian Krolik, Ph.D.

Johns Hopkins University

Anna Krylov, Ph.D.

University of Southern California

Emil Martinec, Ph.D.

University of Chicago

David Morrison, Ph.D.

University of California, Santa Barbara

Gil Paz, Ph.D.

Wayne State University

Jesse Thaler, Ph.D.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Todd Thompson, Ph.D.

Ohio State University


Philip Argyres, Ph.D.

University of Cincinnati

Robijn Bruinsma, Ph.D.

University of California, Los Angeles

Robert Caldwell, Ph.D.

Dartmouth College

Claudio Chamon, Ph.D.

Boston University

Aashish Clerk, Ph.D.

University of Chicago

Eric D’Hoker, Ph.D.

University of California, Los Angeles

Andrew Jordan, Ph.D.

University of Rochester

Alice Quillen, Ph.D.

University of Rochester

Lisa Randall, Ph.D.

Harvard University

Marcus Spradlin, Ph.D.

Brown University

Neal Weiner, Ph.D.

New York University


Zoltán Haiman, Ph.D.

Columbia University

Lawrence Hall, Ph.D.

University of California, Berkeley

Jeffrey Harvey, Ph.D.

University of Chicago
Quantrell Award winner Jeff Harvey, a physics professor, in the Gordon Center Monday, May 20, 2013, at the University of Chicago.    (Photo by Robert Kozloff)

Wick Haxton, Ph.D.

University of California, Berkeley

Petr Hořava, Ph.D.

University of California, Berkeley

Clifford Johnson, Ph.D.

University of Southern California

Catherine Kallin, Ph.D.

Simons Fellows in Theoretical Physics

Eun-Ah Kim, Ph.D.

Cornell University

Dong Lai, Ph.D.

Cornell University

Tom Lubensky, Ph.D.

University of Pennsylvania

Mark Newman, Ph.D.

University of Michigan

Maxim Perelstein, Ph.D.

Cornell University

Andrew Strominger, Ph.D.

Harvard University

Timo Thonhauser, Ph.D.

Wake Forest University


Robert Brandenberger, Ph.D.

McGill University

Eugene Demler, Ph.D.

Harvard University

Veit Elser, Ph.D.

Cornell University

Steven Furlanetto, Ph.D.

University of California, Los Angeles

Charles Gammie, Ph.D.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Michael Gutperle, Ph.D.

University of California, Los Angeles

Elizabeth Jenkins, Ph.D.

University of California, San Diego

Patrick Lee, Ph.D.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Aneesh Manohar, Ph.D.

University of California, San Diego

Adilson Motter, Ph.D.

Northwestern University

Stephen Naculich, Ph.D.

Bowdoin College

Frank Timmes, Ph.D.

Arizona State University

Nandini Trivedi, Ph.D.

Ohio State University

Paul Wiegmann, Ph.D.

University of Chicago


Zvi Bern, Ph.D.

University of California, Los Angeles

Eric G. Blackman, Ph.D.

University of Rochester

Piers Coleman, Ph.D.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Keshav Dasgupta, Ph.D.

McGill University

Benjamin Davidovitch, Ph.D.

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Andrei Derevianko, Ph.D.

University of Nevada, Reno

Charles Doering, Ph.D.

University of Michigan

Glennys Farrar, Ph.D.

New York University

Paul Ginsparg, Ph.D.

Cornell University

Michael Hermele, Ph.D.

University of Colorado Boulder

Liam McAllister, Ph.D.

Cornell University

Sonia Paban, Ph.D.

University of Texas at Austin

Christopher Reynolds, Ph.D.

University of Maryland, College Park

David Vanderbilt, Ph.D.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Thomas Weiler, Ph.D.

Vanderbilt University


Roger Blandford, Ph.D.

Stanford University

Eric Braaten, Ph.D.

Ohio State University

Mirjam Cvetic, Ph.D.

University of Pennsylvania

Yuval Grossman, Ph.D.

Cornell University

F. D. M. Haldane, Ph.D.

Princeton University

Erika Birgit Kaufmann, Ph.D.

Purdue University

M Cristina Marchetti, Ph.D.

Syracuse University

Roberto Merlin, Ph.D.

University of Michigan

Kimball Milton, Ph.D.

University of Oklahoma

Aditi Mitra, Ph.D.

New York University

Witold Skiba, Ph.D.

Yale University

Nicholas Warner, Ph.D.

University of Southern California


Brett Esry, Ph.D.

Kansas State University

Katherine Freese, Ph.D.

University of Michigan

Steven Giddings, Ph.D.

University of California, Santa Barbara

Tin-Lun Ho, Ph.D.

Ohio State University

Vassiliki Kalogera, Ph.D.

Northwestern University

Hong Liu, Ph.D.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Steven Louie, Ph.D.

University of California, Berkeley

Ian Low, Ph.D.

Northwestern University

Maxim Lyutikov, Ph.D.

Purdue University

Chung-Pei Ma, Ph.D.

University of California, Berkeley

Cole Miller, Ph.D.

University of Maryland, College Park

Gregory Moore, Ph.D.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Yasunori Nomura, Ph.D.

University of California, Berkeley

Warren Pickett, Ph.D.

University of California, Davis

Anatoli Polkovnikov, Ph.D.

Boston University

Mark Robbins, Ph.D.

Johns Hopkins University

John Toner, Ph.D.

University of Oregon

Salvatore Torquato, Ph.D.

Princeton University

Yaroslav Tserkovnyak, Ph.D.

University of California, Los Angeles

Smitha Vishveshwara, Ph.D.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Shoucheng Zhang, Ph.D.

Stanford University
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