Simons Collaborations in Mathematics and the Physical Sciences


Simons Foundation 


Simons Collaborations in Mathematics and the Physical Sciences​



The aim of the Simons Collaborations in MPS program is to stimulate progress on fundamental scientific questions of major importance in mathematics, theoretical physics and theoretical computer science.

Basis for Awards

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.

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.

Collaboration Director and Principal Investigators (PIs)

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 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.

Attendance at the annual conference, monthly meetings and other lectures is expected for each collaboration member.

Proposals should specify a core group of founding PIs. Additional PIs may be added at later stages as the collaboration evolves. Inter-institutional and international collaborations are allowed.


The collaboration director must hold a tenured faculty, or equivalent, position at a U.S. or Canadian institution with a Ph.D. program in the director’s department. PIs must hold a tenured or tenure-track 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. A PI on a currently funded collaboration project cannot be part of an LOI or proposal. Additionally, current Math+X Investigators cannot be funded PIs in a collaboration.

Funding Availability

A Simons Collaboration in MPS is budgeted at up to $2 million per year for an initial period of four years. The scientific impact of the collaboration will be evaluated at the year-four annual meeting and an extension of three additional years may be granted. 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.

Indirect Costs



If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

Internal Deadline

Please see How to Apply for full LOI details.  Please contact Kristin Gibson ( for the necessary Organization/Institution information that is required for the LOI. Notification of the status of the LOI will be sent by December 1, 2018.

Internal Deadline

For those asked to submit a Full Proposal, please submit a PDF copy of the proposal along with an OR5 form to

External Deadline

Full proposal is due to the Simons Foundation.  After a review of the full proposals, project teams may be invited to come to the foundation to present their research plan.


For Questions, please contact

Contact Info

Office of Research

Kristin Zimmermann, Senior Grants & Contracts Specialist
Research Services Office
519-824-4120 x56257

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