Targeted Grants in MPS

Important Dates
  • LOI Deadline is Rolling
Contact Info

The Simons Foundation’s Mathematics and Physical Sciences (MPS) division invites applications for its new Targeted Grants in MPS program.

Rationale

The program is intended to support high-risk theoretical mathematics, physics and computer science projects of exceptional promise and scientific importance on a case-by-case basis.

How to Apply

Applicants may submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) through proposalCENTRAL (https://proposalcentral.altum.com/default.asp). The deadline is rolling and an applicant can submit at any time.

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

For projects with Principal Investigator (PIs) at different institutions, the LOI should be signed and submitted by the PI designated as the main PI with the involvement of his/her institution.

LOI Requirements Include:

  • Research plan (two-page limit, plus up to one page for references and figures): Signed by the main PI on letterhead, which includes a brief summary of the support requested, including the names of the other PI(s) involved, if applicable, the scientific goals, background relevant to the application, and a brief budget justification.

  • A tentative yearly budget (two-page limit) indicating total amount and major expense categories with proposed start and end dates.

Applicants will be notified within two months of the LOI submission.

Please note that the volume of interest in this program is such that the foundation is not able to provide advance guidance on potential proposals. We use the LOI stage to assess suitability and novelty. The foundation recommends submitting an LOI if an applicant believes his/her research meets the criteria outlined in the RFA.

Full Proposal

A review of the LOI may lead to a request for a full proposal. Full proposals must be submitted via proposalCENTRAL by the main PI and his/her institution. The full proposal deadline will be noted in the LOI notification and will be no sooner than three months from the date of the LOI approval.

NOTE: Your submitted LOI will remain in the IN PROGRESS queue of the MANAGE PROPOSALS tab in proposalCENTRAL. If your LOI is approved, you will be able to access the full proposal application in the IN PROGRESS queue. If the LOI status changes to LOI: APPROVED, you may click the EDIT button to gain access to the full application. Please refer to the Application Instructions for further information.

Full Proposal Requirements Include:

  • Research plan (six-page limit, plus up to two pages for references and figures): A detailed summary of the support requested, including the names of the PI(s) involved, the scientific goals, background relevant to the application, and the significance of the requested support.

  • A detailed yearly budget and justification with proposed start and end dates.

  • An NSF-style biosketch for all PIs involved in the proposal, which should include:
    • Information about professional preparation, positions held, and academic distinctions;
    • A list of current and former collaborators, postdoctoral fellows supervised, and Ph.D. students trained within the past five years;
    • A list of up to ten relevant publications.
  • Statement of current and pending support for all PIs involved in the proposal.

  • 501(c)(3) equivalency determination letter from the IRS for international institutions. Please refer to the Application Instructions for further information.

Applicants will be notified within three months of the full proposal submission.

Funding and Allowable Expenses

A typical Targeted Grant in MPS provides funding for up to five years. The funding provided is flexible and based on the type of support requested in the proposal. There is no recommended funding limit. Expenses for experiments, equipment, or computations, as well as for personnel and travel, are allowable.

Indirect costs are limited to 20 percent of direct costs, with the following exceptions: equipment, tuition, and any subcontracts with budgets, including indirect expenses. Indirect costs paid to a subcontractor may not exceed 20 percent of the direct costs paid to the subcontractor.

For further guidance, please see the foundation’s grant award policies, which can be found on our website (https://www.simonsfoundation.org/funding/policies-and-procedures/#mps).

Unspent Funds

Funds allocated for postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, or other junior researchers may be carried over from year to year, as appropriate, until the end of the grant. Unspent PI salary and fringe benefit funds at the end of each grant year must be returned to the foundation within 60 days.

A carry-forward request is required only if the unexpended balance exceeds $50,000 of the previous year’s funding and is due at least 30 days prior to the end date of the grant year.

Unspent funds at the end of the grant must be returned to the foundation unless express permission is obtained for a specified future use. Requests for no-cost extensions may be considered.

Reporting

Annual financial statements and progress reports are due within 60 days following the end of each grant year. Specific deliverable requirements will be outlined in the award notification.

Eligibility

Applications may be submitted by established U.S. and foreign public and private educational institutions and stand-alone research centers. There is no limit per institution or individual. There are no citizenship or department requirements for PIs.

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
  • LOI Deadline is Rolling
Contact Info
Letters of Intent (LOI) Deadline: Rolling

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 that there is time to make any application corrections 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 projects where there is more than one PI at different institutions, the LOI should be submitted by the PI designated as the main PI and his/her institution.

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 “Registering and Completing Your Professional Profile” at: https://proposalcentral.altum.com/RegUser.pdf).
  • 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 in the list, please ask your grants and contracts office, or equivalent, to create a profile for your institution on the system. (Please see proposalCENTRAL instructions on “Registering Your Institution” at: https://proposalcentral.altum.com/RegInst.pdf).
  • It is not a requirement for you to complete the other sections of your PROFESSIONAL PROFILE at this time; however, it is recommended that you do enter your degrees and personal data for applications (sections 2 and 4 of the application). 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 the MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES-TARGETED GRANTS IN MPS application.
  • Enter a title in the TITLE PAGE section and click the SAVE button. This creates your application, 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 hyperlink in the left-hand navigation.
  • For further information, please see the proposalCENTRAL’s instructions on how to “Prepare and Submit a Proposal” at: https://proposalcentral.altum.com/CreateApp.pdf.

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 the MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES-TARGETED GRANTS IN MPS application.
  • Enter a title in the TITLE PAGE section and click the SAVE button. This creates your application, 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 hyperlink in the left-hand navigation.
  • For further information, please see the proposalCENTRAL’s instructions on how to “Prepare and Submit a Proposal” at: https://proposalcentral.altum.com/CreateApp.pdf.

LOIs Contain the Following Elements:

  1. Title Page: Enter your APPLICATION TITLE.
  2. Enable Other Users to Access This Proposal:  This screen allows you to give other users access to your grant application, if necessary.
  3. Applicant: This information is pre-loaded from the applicant principal investigator’s PROFESSIONAL PROFILE. The applicant’s name should reflect the name of the PI for the proposed funding.
  4. Organization/Institution: This information is pre-loaded from the INSTITUTIONAL PROFILE. 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.
  5. Key Personnel: Indicate all key personnel other than the applicant PI, including: additional PIs, co-investigators, collaborators, consultants, postdoctoral research associates, and others.
  6. LOI Attachments: Please be sure that the following attachments are uploaded as unlocked PDFs:
    • Research Plan: signed by the main PI on letterhead, which includes a brief summary of the support requested, including the names of the other PIs involved, if applicable, the scientific goals, background relevant to the application, and a brief budget justification. The research plan should be single-spaced and in typeface no smaller than 10-point font. Margins, in all directions, must be at least ½ inch. (Two-page limit, plus up to one page for references and figures.)
    • Budget: A tentative yearly budget indicating total amount and major expense categories with proposed start and end dates. (Two-page limit.)
  7. 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.
  8. Submit: This section will only appear if the deadline has not passed.

LOI Approval:
After evaluation of the LOIs, the Simons Foundation will invite the most qualified applicants to submit full proposals. When the LOI is administratively accepted, the full proposal application can be accessed through proposalCENTRAL. Navigate to the MANAGE PROPOSALS tab, which contains a list of applications IN PROGRESS. The LOI status will change to LOI: APPROVED. Click the EDIT button to gain access to the full proposal application.

Format of the Full Proposal: 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.

Full Proposals Contain the Following Elements:

  1. Title Page: The APPLICATION TITLE will be pre-populated with the title entered in the LOI section.
  2. Enable Other Users to Access This Proposal:  This screen allows you to give other users access to your grant application, if necessary.
  3. Applicant: This information is pre-loaded from the applicant’s PROFESSIONAL PROFILE.
  4. Organization/Institution: This information is pre-loaded from the INSTITUTIONAL PROFILE. 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.
  5. Key Personnel: Indicate all key personnel other than the applicant PI, including: additional PIs, co-investigators, collaborators, consultants, postdoctoral research associates, and others.
  6. Budget Period Detail: Provide up to a five-year detailed budget in U.S. dollars. In projects where there is more than one PI at different institutions, the budget for the second PI should be submitted as a subcontract within the Proposal Attachments section.
  7. Budget Summary & Justification: This section summarizes the budget entered in the Budget Period Detail section. Please provide justification for categories noted. The character limit for each box is 8,000.
  8. Proposal Attachments (attachments must be uploaded as unlocked PDFs; please confirm this before uploading):
    • Research Plan: A summary of the support requested, should include the names of the PI(s) involved, the scientific goals, background relevant to the application, and the significance of the requested support. (Six-page limit, plus up to two pages for references and figures.)
    • An NSF-style Biosketch: To be submitted for all PIs involved in the proposal. Required information includes:
      • Information about professional preparation, positions held, and academic distinctions;
      • A list of current and former collaborators, postdoctoral fellows supervised, and Ph.D. students trained within the past five years;
      • A list of up to ten relevant publications.
    • Statement of Current and Pending Support: A statement should be submitted for all PIs and co-PIs. NIH or NSF format is sufficient.
    • 501(c)(3) Equivalency Determination Letter from the IRS (if applicable): For international institutions, 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 an international institution does not have this letter at the application stage, do not upload anything for this attachment type. However, if an international 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 Information:
pcsupport@altum.com
800-875-2562

Download the Targeted Grants in MPS Application Instructions as a PDF here.

  1. My institution is international and does not have the equivalency determination letter from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service stating exemption under 501(c)(3) and furthermore, either 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.

  2. I am an adjunct faculty member at my institution. Am I eligible to apply to this program?plus--large

    No, we do not accept applications from adjunct faculty.

  3. What is the minimum and maximum duration and funding level for this program?plus--large

    There is no targeted or assumed funding duration or level for this program.

  4. What types of projects are appropriate for consideration under this program?plus--large

    While there are no fixed guidelines, projects at the single- or few-PI scale that might be funded by federal agencies would not normally be considered under the Targeted Grants in MPS program.

  5. Would both theoretical and experimental projects be funded?plus--large

    The emphasis of the program is on theory, but projects with some experimental components may be considered.

  6. Are proposals in the chemistry field eligible?plus--large

    We are not considering proposals in chemistry at this time.

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

    The grant is awarded to the applicant’s institution.

  8. Can the grant be transferred to another person?plus--large

    No, the transfer of the grant to another person is not allowed.

  9. What happens if I change institutions?plus--large

    The grant may be transferred to another educational institution or stand-alone research centers under the same PI.

  10. If I am not awarded a Targeted Grant in MPS, may I reapply?plus--large

    Yes, there is no limit on the number of times one can reapply.

  11. Where do I submit my letter of intent (LOI) and full proposal?plus--large

    Log in to proposalCENTRAL (https://proposalcentral.altum.com/default.asp). You will find the mathematics and physical sciences – targeted grants in mps application in the list of Simons Foundation funding opportunities. Click apply now to start the application. Please see the Application Instructions for further information.

  12. Do I need to mail in a hard copy of the signed signature page?plus--large

    No, the foundation does not require or accept hard copies of any application materials.

  13. Does the letter of intent (LOI) submission require institutional signature(s)?plus--large

    In the LOI section of the application, the applicant needs to select the signing official and financial officer from a list of officials associated with his/her university or needs to add a new official by entering in his/her email address. The signature page is only required for the full proposal. The project narrative component of the LOI requires a signature by the PI on institutional letterhead.

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

    To submit a full proposal application, the Simons Foundation does require a signature from a Signing Official. Please check the applicant’s institution’s policies regarding application submission.

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

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

  16. What file formats are acceptable when uploading application attachments?plus--large

    PDF is the only file format accepted.

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

    No, deadlines on the application are in Eastern Time. We strongly recommend registering early on proposalCENTRAL and submitting applications with ample time for corrections prior to the deadline hour. Submissions will be blocked after the deadline has passed.

  18. I cannot find the submit button. Where is it?plus--large

    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. Requests should be submitted to mps@simonsfoundation.org. 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 at pcsupport@altum.com.

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

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

    No, validating the application only checks for errors and will alert you to missing requirements. If the application is complete, you must click the submit button. You will receive an email within approximately ten minutes. If you do not receive confirmation in this time, please contact proposalCENTRAL customer support at pcsupport@altum.com. After successful submission, the applicant’s proposal will be listed under the in progress tab with the status submitted.

  21. Is a confirmation email sent when I submit my letter of intent (LOI) and full proposal?plus--large

    A confirmation email is sent upon submission. Make sure that spam filters allow emails from pcsupport@altum.com. If you have submitted your application and have not received a confirmation email from proposalCENTRAL within ten minutes, please contact proposalCENTRAL Customer Support at pcsupport@altum.com.

  22. Further Informationplus--large

    If you have questions regarding your proposal that are not answered in these FAQs, the Targeted Grants in the MPS RFA or Application Instructions, please contact the Simons Foundation Division for Mathematics and the Physical Sciences at mps@simonsfoundation.org or 212-524-6966.

    Download PDF of the Targeted Grants in Mathematics and Physical Sciences Frequently Asked Questions here.

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