Find Nonprofit and Small Business Grants

Advance Search

Only Available for Paid Subscribers
Clear Filters
Search Filters

Simons Collaborations in Mathematics and the Physical Sciences (MPS)

Grants to USA and Canada University Faculty for
Research in Math, Computer Science, and Physics

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

Add to My Calendar 

Simons Foundation - Mathematics and Physical Sciences (MPS) Division

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

02/15/18 11:59 PM EST


Request a Grant Writer

Grants to USA and Canada PhD program faculty at nonprofit universities for projects that will contribute to progress on major fundamental scientific questions in mathematics, theoretical computer science, and theoretical physics. A letter of intent is due October 3, 2017.

A Simons Collaboration in MPS should address a mathematical or theoretical topic of fundamental scientific importance, where a significant, new development creates a novel area for exploration or provides a new direction for progress in an established field. The questions addressed by the collaboration may be concrete or conceptual, but there should be little doubt that answering them would constitute a major scientific milestone. The project should have clearly defined initial activities and goals by which progress and success can be measured. The support from the foundation should be seen as critical for the objectives of the project.

Each collaboration is led by a collaboration director, who is expected to determine the scientific agenda, coordinate the scientific activities of the other members, determine (in collaboration with the other members) the scientific themes, coordinate a collaboration website, and organize collaboration meetings and activities as appropriate, including a two-day annual conference at the foundation. The director will be the foundation’s main point of contact for the activities of the collaboration and will be responsible for coordinating all administrative deliverables. The director is also responsible for monitoring the overall progress of the research effort and deciding on research directions and personnel as the collaboration evolves.

PIs are expected to perform research that advances the goals of the collaboration and to collaborate as appropriate with other members of the collaboration. PIs are also expected to assist the director and other PIs in fulfilling the additional collaboration obligations outlined above.

The project should involve outstanding researchers with a range of career stages. Excellence of the scientific leadership is one of the main criteria in the selection process. The project should be organized and managed in a manner engendering a high level of collaboration.

The funding provided under a Simons Collaboration in MPS may be used to support research expenses in the following categories:

- Up to one month of summer salary support and related benefits for the collaboration director and each PI/co-PI. These salary funds are not substitutional (cannot be used to relieve a university of salary costs) and cannot be used to reduce teaching loads below the departmental norm. They can only be used to supplement the salary similarly to a summer salary in the U.S. system.
- Conferences and working meetings appropriate to the needs of the collaboration.
- Teaching reduction down to the level of only one course/semester for the collaboration director - teaching reduction for other collaboration members is not an allowable expense.
- Salary support and related benefits, including tuition support, for staff/research scientists and postdoctoral, graduate and/or undergraduate research assistants.
- Support for visitors and collaborators, including travel, meals and lodging expenses.
- Research equipment, supplies and other expenses directly related to the research, including computers, computer support, professional literature, publication expenses and professional membership dues.
- Collaboration-related domestic or international travel for collaboration members per the institution’s travel policies - parking, hotel, taxi, registration and other related travel and conference costs are allowable.
- Support costs for a Collaboration administrator.
- Other expenses related to the support and administration of the Collaboration (i.e., web design).

Expenditures in other expense categories may be possible but must be approved in advance by the Foundation.

The collaboration budget must include discretionary funds, amounting to at least 10 percent of the collaboration budget, to be held at the Foundation and made available to be used at the discretion of the director for meetings, workshops, the addition of PIs to the collaboration and other related collaboration expenses. Costs for meetings and workshops held at the foundation (i.e., the collaboration annual meeting) will be paid directly by the foundation from the discretionary funds.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 175673

Number of Grants:

The foundation expects to make up to two awards in 2018.

Estimated Size of Grant:

A Simons Collaboration in MPS is budgeted at up to $2 million per year for an initial period of four years. The foundation would allow the annual budget to vary somewhat from $2 million, as long as the total four-year budget is no more than $8 million. Unspent funds at the end of the collaboration must be returned to the foundation.

Term of Contract:

The initial grant period is 4 years. After a review in year three, when the scientific impact of the collaboration has been evaluated, an extension of three additional years may be granted.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The collaboration director should hold a faculty, or equivalent, position at a U.S. or Canadian institution with a Ph.D. program. PIs must also hold a faculty or equivalent position at an educational institution. There are no restrictions on the department and/or discipline of the director or PIs. PIs and other collaboration participants may be from non-U.S. institutions.

An individual may be part of more than one letter of intent (LOI) or full proposal, as long as all eligibility requirements are met. There is no LOI limit per institution or individual.

For-profit institutions are not eligible to receive grant funds.

Please see here for full Grant Policies and procedures: or the pdf in Supporting Documents below.

Pre-Application Information:

An LOI is due October 3, 2017 by 11:59:59 PM EST. Notification of the status of the LOI will be sent by December 31, 2017.

A review of the LOI may lead to a request for a full proposal, which will be due by February 15, 2018, at 11:59:59 p.m. EST.

Award notification will be by July 1, 2018, and the award start date will be September 1, 2018.

Please note, the institutions for director of the collaboration and each founding PI will receive individual awards as part of the collaboration.

Application Instructions:


Policies and Procedures:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Register and submit an LOI online:

For more information, contact:

Elizabeth Roy
Senior Program Manager, Mathematics and the Physical Sciences
212-524-6966 or

proposalCENTRAL Contact Information:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

Canada: Alberta   British Columbia   Manitoba   New Brunswick   Newfoundland and Labrador   Northwest Territories   Nova Scotia   Nunavut   Ontario   Prince Edward Island   Quebec   Saskatchewan   Yukon