Simons Fellows in Theoretical Physics

Important Dates
  • Application Available
  • 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.

Rationale

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 award is administered through the Fellow’s home institution, which will receive an additional 20 percent overhead on allowable expenses. 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 2018–2019 academic year, where, for example, the full leave year period could be January 1, 2018, through December 31, 2018; September 1, 2018, through August 31, 2019; or January 1, 2019, through December 31, 2019. Fellowship funding must be contiguous to the university-supported portion of the leave.

Fellowships awards may begin no earlier than July 1, 2018 and grant funds cannot be used for leave-related expenses incurred before July 1, 2018. The portion of the leave supported by the salary replacement funds must be completed by August 31, 2019.

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, automobile rental, childcare and support for visitors. 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 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. 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 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 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.

Reporting

Awardees are required to submit a final progress report that includes a summary of scientific accomplishments and a financial statement. These reports are 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.

Payments

One payment will be disbursed by the end of the first quarter of the grant period.

How to Apply

Applicants may apply through proposalCENTRAL (https://proposalcentral.altum.com/default.asp) beginning July 7, 2016. The deadline to apply is September 28, 2017, 11:59:59 p.m. EST.

Please coordinate submission of the proposal with the appropriate officials in accordance with university policies. Please refer to the Application Instructions for further information on and requirements for submitting an application.

Application Requirements

  1. A statement (>two-page limit, plus up to one page for references) explaining the candidate’s most significant scientific work over the previous five years.
  2. A statement (two-page limit, plus up to one page for references) summarizing the applicant’s plans for the entire research leave, including the semesters or quarters of leave to be taken, the start and end dates of the leave, the institution or institutions at which the leave is to be spent and the scientific goals.
  3. A curriculum vitae (two-page limit) that includes Ph.D. year, institution, advisor and positions held.
  4. A list of current and pending support that provides the award number, source of funding, title of award, dates of project and annual direct costs.
  5. A list of up to five publications from the past five years and up to five other publications.
  6. A list of current or recent (past five years) postdocs and Ph.D. students supervised, including their dissertation topics and likely date of completion.
  7. A budget in USD and a justification, including known or anticipated salary and fringe benefits for the leave period, and anticipated leave-related expenses.
  8. A sabbatical form from the home institution verifying the following:
    1. the applicant has a tenured faculty position;
    2. the applicant is sabbatical eligible or approved for the specified academic-year period;
    3. the applicant’s academic-year salary for the leave period;
    4. 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
    5. university funding of 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 in writing to the foundation at least three months prior to the start of the applicant’s fellowship funding. The applicant must still upload the “Sabbatical Form for Home Institution” verifying as much of the information indicated above as is possible at the time of the application submission.
  9. 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 the relevant department chair(s) 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 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.
  10. 501(c)(3) equivalency determination letter from the IRS for Canadian institutions (only applicable to the home institution). Please see the Application Instructions for further information on this requirement.

Contact Information

mps@simonsfoundation.org

Elizabeth Roy
Senior Program Manager
Mathematics and the Physical Sciences
212-524-6966
eroy@simonsfoundation.org

Further Information

 

 

 

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

Deadline: September 28, 2017, at 11:59:59 p.m. EST

Important Note:
Applications should be started and submitted under the applicant’s own account on proposalCENTRAL. Applicants are encouraged to submit in advance of the deadline to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission.

Additionally, all applicants must work with their institutional officials to register their institution with proposalCENTRAL or ensure their existing proposalCENTRAL account is up-to-date. New applicants and their institutions are strongly encouraged to start the registration process at least four weeks prior to the application due date.

Please note that all deadlines are in Eastern Standard Time. If the deadline has expired, an applicant will not be able to see the SUBMIT button and will, therefore, not be able to submit his/her application.

For NEW proposalCENTRAL Users:

Step 1: Register as a proposalCENTRAL user:
  • Go to https://proposalcentral.altum.com/default.asp.
  • Select the create one now button (Please see the proposalCENTRAL instructions for “How to Register as a proposalCENTRAL user” at https://proposalcentral.altum.com/review/InfoRequest.asp).
  • Once you have completed the required information and agreed to the Terms of Service and the Acceptable Use Policy, click on SAVE. An email will be sent to your email address containing a confirmation number. Note: This email will also contain both your username and password.
  • Log in (https://proposalcentral.altum.com/default.asp) using APPLICATION LOGIN, enter your confirmation number in the box provided on the next screen and click on SUBMIT CONFIRMATION NUMBER.
  • 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 listed, please ask your grants and contracts office (or equivalent) to create a profile for your institution on the system. (Please see proposalCENTRAL instructions on “How to Register your Institution with proposalCENTRAL” at https://proposalcentral.altum.com/review/InfoRequest.asp).
  • 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 (see Applicant and Organization/Institution sections below).
Step 2: Navigate to the GRANT OPPORTUNITIES tab.
  • Select SIMONS FOUNDATION from the drop-down list and click on the FILTER LIST BY GRANT MAKER.
  • You will then see the list of current Simons Foundation grant opportunities.
  • Click on APPLY NOW to access either the MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES-SIMONS FELLOWS IN MATHEMATICS application or the MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES-SIMONS FELLOWS IN THEORETICAL PHYSICS application.
  • Enter a title in the TITLE PAGE section 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’s hyperlink in the left-hand navigation.
  • For further information, please see the proposalCENTRAL instructions on “How to Create an Application using proposalCENTRAL” at https://proposalcentral.altum.com/review/InfoRequest.asp.

For EXISTING proposalCENTRAL Users:

Step 1: Log in using APPLICATION LOGIN at https://proposalcentral.altum.com/default.asp.
Step 2: Navigate to the GRANT OPPORTUNITIES tab.
  • Select SIMONS FOUNDATION from the drop-down list and click on the FILTER LIST BY GRANT MAKER.
  • You will then see the list of current Simons Foundation grant opportunities.
  • Click on APPLY NOW to access either the MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES-SIMONS FELLOWS IN MATHEMATICS application or the MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES-SIMONS FELLOWS IN THEORETICAL PHYSICS application.
  • Enter a title in the TITLE PAGE section 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’s hyperlink in the left-hand navigation.
  • For further information, please see the proposalCENTRAL instructions on “How to Create an Application using proposalCENTRAL” at https://proposalcentral.altum.com/review/InfoRequest.asp.

Format of Application: 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.

Applications contain the following elements:

  1. Title Page: Enter your APPLICATION TITLE.
  2. Download Templates & Instructions: A Sabbatical Form for Home Institution 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 you to give other users access to your grant application, if necessary.
  4. Applicant: This information is pre-loaded from the applicant’s PROFESSIONAL PROFILE. Please indicate the applicant’s website, if applicable.
  5. Organization/Institution: This information is pre-loaded 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 as indicated. Please note that your choices will be used to select the most appropriate reviewers.
  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 the salary replacement funds requested, including the percentage of total salary covered by the foundation and the fringe benefits rate on that salary, as well as how the leave-related expense funding will be used. Indicate which semester/quarters will be taken for the Fellowship.
  8. Proposal Attachments: Please be sure that the following attachments are uploaded as unlocked PDFs:
    • 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 sabbatical plans, including the number of semesters or quarters of leave to be taken, the institution or institutions at which the leave is to be spent and the 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, including but not limited to research grants, cooperative agreements, contracts and/or institutional awards. 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
      • 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) Ph.D. students, including their dissertation topics and likely date of completion.
    • Sabbatical Form for Home Institution: 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;
      • 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 funding of 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 applicant must still upload this form verifying as much of the information indicated above that can be verified at the time of the application submission.
    • 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’s 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): For Canadian institutions (only applicable to the home institution), upload a copy of the institution’s 501(c)(3) equivalency determination letter. The Simons Foundation requires an 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. However, 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 (see Simons Foundation policies). 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: To 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. Only the signed first page of the signature page PDF file needs to be uploaded for this requirement.
  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. Please correct any missing information before submitting your application.
  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. Only the signed first page of the signature page PDF file needs to be uploaded for this requirement.
  11. 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 Contact:
pcsupport@altum.com
800-875-2562

Download the Simons Fellows Application Instructions as a PDF here.

  1. What is the most important criterion for securing a Simons Fellowship?plus--large

    The potential for research accomplishment, as judged by accomplishments over the last five years and plans for the leave, is the primary criterion for evaluating applications.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

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

  5. 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.

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

    Yes, the fellowship can support this type of leave.

  7. Is it allowable for a sabbatical location to be outside of the United States or Canada?plus--large

    Yes, as long as all other eligibility requirements are met.

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

    Yes, this is acceptable.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

    Applicants will be evaluated as mathematicians, in terms of potential contributions to mathematics, and must fulfill all of the eligibility requirements, but there is no restriction on the home department.

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

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

    No, there is no limit.

  17. Are emeriti faculty eligible?plus--large

    Retired and emeriti faculty are not eligible.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. My home institution is in Canada and does not have the equivalency determination letter from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service stating exemption under 501(c)(3) nor a 509(a)(1), (2) or (3) classification. When do we apply for equivalency via NGOSource, and does my institution have to cover the costs?plus--large

    The foundation handles the equivalency determination process if the institution is selected for funding and will also cover the cost.

  21. 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.

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

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

  23. 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.

  24. Where do I submit my application?plus--large

     

    Log in to proposalCENTRAL (https://proposalcentral.altum.com/default.asp). You will find the MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES-SIMONS FELLOWS IN MATHEMATICS and MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES-SIMONS FELLOWS IN THEORETICAL PHYSICS applications in the list of Simons Foundation funding opportunities. Click APPLY NOW to start either application. Please see the Application Instructions for further information.

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

    To submit an application, the Simons Foundation requires the signature of a signing official in your institution’s sponsored projects office or equivalent office. Please check with your institution’s policies regarding application submission.

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

    Email pcsupport@altum.com or call 800-875-2562.

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

    No. Please be advised that deadlines on the application are in Eastern Standard Time. We highly recommend registering early and submitting applications with ample time for corrections prior to the deadline hour.

  28. I cannot find the SUBMIT button. Where is it?plus--large

     

    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, pcsupport@altum.com. 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.

  29. 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 sections. If you are still receiving error messages after completing and saving the indicated sections, please contact proposalCENTRAL customer support, pcsupport@altum.com.

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

    No. Validating the application will only check for errors and alert you to missing requirements. If the application is complete, you must hit SUBMIT. After successful submission, your application will now be listed under the IN PROGRESS tab with the status SUBMITTED.

  31. Is there a confirmation email when I submit my application?plus--large

    A confirmation email is sent upon submission. Please contact proposalCENTRAL customer support, pcsupport@altum.com, if you have submitted an application and have not received a confirmation email from proposalCENTRAL within ten minutes. Make sure that spam filters allow emails from pcsupport@altum.com. The status of an application can also be checked within the MANAGE PROPOSALS tab in proposalCENTRAL.

  32. Further informationplus--large

    If you have questions that are not addressed in these FAQs, the Simons Fellows in Theoretical Physics RFA or Application Instructions, please contact the Simons Foundation Division for Mathematics and the Physical Sciences at mps@simonsfoundation.org.

    Download the Simons Fellows FAQ here.

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