- Application Deadline
- Earliest Award Start Date
The Simons Foundation’s Mathematics and Physical Sciences (MPS) division invites applications for the Simons Fellows in Theoretical Physics program to make sabbatical research leaves more productive by extending them from a single term to a full academic year. For awards made in 2022, the foundation encourages applications from those severely impacted by COVID-19 and for whom travel during the sabbatical period will be difficult. The foundation aims to support these sabbatical eligible mathematicians, even if remaining at their home institution is the only option.
The foundation also strongly encourages applications from scientists from underrepresented groups.
Sabbatical research leaves from classroom teaching and administrative obligations can provide strong intellectual stimulation and lead to increased creativity and productivity in theoretical research.
Basis for Awards
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 in 2021 will provide 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 $10,000 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.
The Simons Fellowship will fund up to 50 percent of the 2022–2023 academic year, where, for example, the full leave year period could be January 1, 2022, through December 31, 2022; September 1, 2022, through August 31, 2023; or January 1, 2023, through December 31, 2023. Fellowship funding must be contiguous to the university-supported portion of the leave.
Fellowship awards and sabbatical periods may begin no earlier than January 1, 2022, and no later than January 1, 2023. For sabbaticals beginning January 1, 2022, awards will be retroactively started and grant funds available no sooner than March 2022.
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 but may be paid out over the course of the full leave. 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 small equipment and supplies, travel (including the Fellow and the Fellow’s family members to and from the sabbatical location(s) and the Fellow’s travel to meetings and collaborators), 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 is restricted to sabbatical or equivalent leave-eligible faculty who wish to use the Simons Fellowship award for the purpose of extending at least a single-term sabbatical research leave to a full academic year. The fellowship program will not support the extension of a full year of sabbatical research leave to an additional term. In order to receive the fellowship, you must be approved by your institution for a full year of sabbatical research 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.
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 award. Please see the How to Apply section for further information.
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 research leave 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.
Previous fellowship awardees are allowed to apply for another fellowship as long as they follow their universities’ rules on sabbatical or equivalent leave eligibility.
Unspent funds at the end of the grant must be returned to the foundation. No-cost extension requests will typically not be considered.
Number of Awards
The foundation expects to award up to 10 theoretical physics fellowships for 2022.
How to Apply
Applicants must apply through proposalCENTRAL (https://proposalcentral.com/). The deadline to apply is September 28, 2021, 11:59:59 p.m. EDT.
Please refer to the How to Apply tab for 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.
- Application Deadline
- Earliest Award Start Date
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 must be at least half an inch in all directions.
Please complete the application as follows:
- Title Page:
- Enter the title of the application.
- Answer sabbatical certification questions. 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 award.
- Enable Other Users to Access this Proposal: This screen allows users to give other users access to the grant application, if necessary.
- Applicant: This information is preloaded from the applicant’s professional profile. Please indicate the applicant’s website, if applicable.
- Organization/Institution: This information is preloaded from the institutional profile. The Simons Foundation requires the provision of contact information for institutional officials for both pre- and post-award management. Please select names from the list of officials supplied with your proposalCENTRAL’s institution profile and click the Add button. If the contact you need is not on the list, enter the contact’s email address and click the Add button. Note that the officials added here are the only individuals who will automatically have access to this grant if the application is awarded. All other officials not listed in the application (including primary signing officials and primary financial officers) must request access to a grant after an application is awarded. Also, note that proposalCENTRAL’s institution profile is not tied to the Simons Foundation’s institutional profile. Officials added at the application stage are not automatically added to the Simons Foundation’s institutional profile. Please see the Simons Foundation’s grant policies for more information regarding institutional contacts.
- Abstract & Field Selection: 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 the applicant’s field(s) as it applies to the applicant’s research in the last five years.
- Budget Summary & Justification: Enter start and end dates for the proposed full year leave period and all requested budget amounts in U.S. dollars. Please round up to the nearest dollar. In the justification section, provide the applicant’s known or expected academic-year salary for the full year of the leave period. If this is not yet finalized, please include the expected date of salary increase. Please also provide a detailed description of how the leave-related expense funding will be used. An insufficient budget justification may result in the proposal not being considered further.
- 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 and figures, which can be embedded within the text): 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 and figures, which can be embedded within the text): 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, nonfederal, 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) graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and Ph.D. students, as applicable, including their dissertation topics and likely date of completion.
- Letter from Other Institution (if applicable):
- If the leave is to be taken at another institution or institutions and will last longer than one month, 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 award.
- 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. Please use the Letter from Other Institution as the attachment type if including a backup plan.
- 501(c)(3) Equivalency Determination Letter from the IRS or Equivalency Certificate from NGOsource (if applicable):
- See Simons Foundation’s grant policies for requirements for grants to international institutions. The Simons Foundation requires that an institution is the equivalent of a U.S. public charity before making the award.
- If a Canadian institution has been issued a determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States stating exemption under 501(c)(3) and, furthermore, either a 509(a)(1), (2) or (3) classification, a copy of this letter must be uploaded to the application.
- If a Canadian institution has previously been approved as equivalent of a U.S. public charity via NGOsource, a copy of the issued certificate must be uploaded to the application.
- If a Canadian institution does not have the letter or certificate at the application stage, do not upload anything for this attachment type.
- If a Canadian institution is selected for funding and does not have one of the aforementioned documents, 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.
PI Demographics: Please enter demographic data for the applicant. For required responses, the applicant can select Prefer Not to Disclose. Please click on Edit Professional Profile and navigate to Personal Data for Applications to update or change selections.
- 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.
- 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.
- Submit: This section will only appear if the deadline has not passed.
My university does not call leaves “sabbatical,” but rather “leave without pay” or “research leave.” Am I still eligible to apply?
You are eligible to apply for the Simons Fellows program if you are eligible for a leave equivalent to a sabbatical, you will be granted a yearlong leave and at least 50 percent of the year’s salary is provided by your university.
I have a tenure-track position. Am I eligible to apply?
No, only those with tenured positions are eligible for the fellowship.
Can the Simons Fellowship support a sabbatical in which the recipient remains at his or her home institution?
Yes, the fellowship can support this type of sabbatical.
Can my sabbatical location be outside of the United States or Canada?
Yes, this is allowable.
Although I will not be teaching any classes during my sabbatical, I will have graduate students. Is this acceptable?
Yes, this is acceptable.
My research area is biological physics. Will the program consider my application?
It is not our intention to support biological physics with this program. However, if your work is within the theoretical biophysics area, you would be eligible to apply.
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 and in terms of their potential contributions to physics, and they must fulfill all of the eligibility requirements, but there is no restriction on the home department.
Will the foundation accept applications from computer scientists?
It is not our intent to support computer science with this program.
Can the Simons Fellowship be used to match another external fellowship?
No, the Simons Fellowship cannot be used to match another external fellowship.
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.
Is there a limit to the number of applicants per university?
No, there is no limit.
Are emeriti faculty eligible?
Retired and emeriti faculty are not eligible.
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 is not 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.
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 apply to or hold the grant.
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.
To whom is the grant awarded?
The grant is awarded to the Simons Fellow’s home institution.
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.