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 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.

Funding and Allowable Expenses

The Targeted Grant in MPS program provides funding for up to five years. The funding level and duration is flexible and should be appropriate based on the type of support requested in the proposal. There is no recommended or assumed funding level for this program.

Allowable expenses include:

  • Up to one month of summer salary and related benefits per year for the PI and any co-Investigator(s).
  • Domestic or international travel for the PI and co-Investigator(s).
  • Research equipment, experiments, computations and other expenses directly benefiting the research.
  • Salary support and related benefits, including tuition support, for staff/research scientists, postdoctoral fellows and research associates, graduate students or undergraduate research assistants.

Please see the foundation’s grant policies for further guidelines. Indirect costs are limited to 20 percent of applicable direct costs, as outlined in the policies. Please note that travel expenses are not capped at $4,000 per year per individual for this program.

Unspent Funds

With the exception of summer salary and fringe benefits for the PI or co-Investigator(s), unspent funds are automatically carried over from year to year during the grant period. Unspent funds at the end of the grant must be returned to the foundation. 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.

Eligibility

Applications may be submitted by established U.S. and foreign public and private educational institutions and stand-alone research centers. PIs and co-Investigators must have a Ph.D. and a tenure-track or tenured position at said institutions or centers. There are no citizenship or department requirements for PIs.

How to Apply

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

Please refer to the How to Apply tab for instructions.

Applicants will be notified of a decision 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.

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

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Important Dates
  • LOI Deadline is Rolling
Contact Info

Please see the general instructions for application submission.

Important Note: For projects with more than one PI, the LOI should be submitted by the PI designated as the main PI and his/her institution.

Please be sure to submit a proposal using the appropriate application (Mathematics and Physical Sciences — Targeted Grants in MPS).

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:

LOI

  1. Title Page: Enter the title of the application.
  2. Enable Other Users to Access This Proposal: This screen allows users to give other users access to the grant application, if necessary.
  3. Applicant: This information is preloaded from the applicant’s professional profile.
  4. 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.
  5. Key Personnel: Indicate all key personnel other than the applicant PI, including additional PIs, co-investigators, collaborators, consultants, postdoctoral research associates and others. Key Personnel includes the PI and other individuals who contribute to the scientific development or execution of a project in a substantive, measurable way, whether or not they request salaries or compensation.
  6. LOI Attachments (attachments must be uploaded as unlocked PDFs; please confirm this before uploading):
    • Research Plan (two-page limit, plus up to one page for references and figures): Signed by the main PI on letterhead and 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.
    • Budget (two-page limit): A tentative yearly budget, indicating total amount and major expense categories with proposed start and end dates.
  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 and must be corrected before the application can be submitted.
  8. Submit: This section will only appear if the deadline has not passed.

LOI Approval:
A submitted LOI will remain in the queue of the Proposals tab in proposalCENTRAL. If an LOI is approved, the LOI status changes to LOI: Approved and the Proposal status changes to Proposal: In Progress in the Status column. Click the Edit button to gain access to the full proposal application.

Full Proposal

  1. Title Page: The application title will be prepopulated with the title entered in the LOI section.
  2. Download Templates & Instructions: A “Subcontract Budget” template is provided and must be completed for each subcontract. All budgets must be in U.S. dollars. The “Step 1-Sub Detail YR 1” worksheet should be completed first. The “Last Step-Summary” worksheet will auto-populate with the amounts provided in the corresponding worksheets.
  3. Enable Other Users to Access This Proposal: This screen allows users to give other users access to the grant application, if necessary.
  4. Applicant: This information is preloaded from the applicant’s professional profile.
  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. Key Personnel: Indicate all key personnel other than the applicant PI, including additional PIs, co-investigators, collaborators, consultants, postdoctoral research associates and others. Key Personnel includes the PI and other individuals who contribute to the scientific development or execution of a project in a substantive, measurable way, whether or not they request salaries or compensation.
  7. 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.
  8. Budget Summary & Justification: This section summarizes the budget entered in the Budget Period Detail section. Please provide justification for the categories noted. The character limit for each box is 8,000.
  9. Other Support: Add the current and pending support for all PIs and co-Is, which includes all financial resources, whether federal or non-federal, available in direct support of the applicant’s and co-I’s research endeavors. It is not necessary to include this application as pending support.

    Note: The applicant will only be able to update or create new Other Support for Key Personnel if they have granted the applicant at least edit access to their profile. The applicant will only be able to add Other Support for Key Personnel if they have granted the applicant at least view access to their profile. With view access, the applicant cannot create new Other sSpport entries for Key Personnel.

    How to add existing Other Support from a professional profile to this application:
    Click the + link.
    Select the individual you are adding other support for from the drop-down list.
    Select the Other Support previously saved in this individual’s professional profile.
    Click Save and Close.
    An X icon will indicate if an entry is missing required information.
    Click on the pencil/edit icon to update any entry. Check the Update your Profile box if you want to also update the entry in the individual’s professional profile.

    How to add more Other Support:
    Click the + link.
    Select the individual you are adding Other Support for from the drop-down list.
    Click the Create New Other Support button and complete all required entries in the form. Check the Add to your Profile box if you want to also add this new entry to the individual’s professional profile.

    How to add new Other Support just to this application (applicant only):
    Click the + link.
    Select the applicant from the drop-down list.
    Click the Create New Other Support button and complete all required entries in the form.
    Do not check the Add to your Profile box.
    Click Save and Close.

    How to report no Other Support (if applicable)
    Check the No Other Support to report box.

  10. Proposal Attachments (attachments must be uploaded as unlocked PDFs; please confirm this before uploading):
    • Research Plan (six-page limit, plus up to two pages for references and figures): A summary of the support requested, names of the PI(s) involved, scientific goals, background relevant to the application and the significance of the requested support.
    • An NSF-style Biosketch: To be submitted for all PIs involved in the proposal. Required information includes:
      • 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; and
      • a list of up to ten relevant publications.
    • 501(c)(3) Equivalency Determination Letter from the IRS (if applicable):
      • See Simons Foundation grant policies for requirements for grants to international institutions.
      • For international institutions, 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 an international institution does not have this letter at the application stage, do not upload anything for this attachment type.
      • 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. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Submit: This section will only appear if the deadline has not passed.
Important Dates
  • LOI Deadline is Rolling
Contact Info
  1. 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.

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

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

  3. 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.

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

    We are not considering proposals in chemistry at this time.

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

    The grant is awarded to the applicant’s institution.

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

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

  7. Is there a limit to the number of applications per PI or institution?plus--large

    No, there is no limit.

  8. 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.

  9. 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 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.

Origins of the Universe

  • Awarded: 2017
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