The Simons Foundation is a private foundation based in New York City, incorporated in 1994 by Jim and Marilyn Simons.
The Simons Foundation’s mission is to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences. We sponsor a range of programs that aim to promote a deeper understanding of our world.
Mathematics and the Physical Sciences (MPS)
The Simons Foundation Mathematics and Physical Sciences (MPS) division supports research in mathematics, theoretical physics and theoretical computer science.
The MPS division was established in 2010 and provides funding for individuals, institutions and science infrastructure. The division’s primary programs are Simons Investigators, Simons Fellows, and Collaboration Grants for Mathematicians. Support for institutions is provided via the Math+X: Encouraging Interactions program and the Targeted Grants to Institutes program. MPS also supports the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at the University of California, Berkeley.
A new initiative is the MPS Simons Collaborations program, which enables teams of scientists to make progress on fundamental scientific questions of major importance in the broad areas of mathematics, physics, and computer science.
The mission of the Simons Foundation division of Life Sciences is to advance basic research in the life sciences.
In Spring 2013, the foundation’s Life Sciences division launched its first multi-institutional interdisciplinary program, the Simons Collaboration on the Origins of Life. Its goal is to advance our understanding of the processes that led to the emergence of life in the universe.
The Life Sciences division also launched the Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain in Spring 2014. The collaboration supports projects that use new technologies to record the activity of large neural populations at single-cell resolution, in combination with mathematical analyses, to investigate how neural coding and dynamics represent and process information relevant to internal cognitive states and behavior.
The Simons Collaboration on Ocean Processes and Ecology, based at the University of Hawaii, will advance our understanding of the biology, ecology, and biogeochemistry of microbial processes that dominate Earth’s largest biome, the global ocean.
In addition to its collaborations, the division of Life Sciences from time to time grants project awards, which vary in focus from study of the social brain to understanding human genetic diversity.
The Life Sciences division also supports the Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Awards in the Neurosciences and postdoctoral fellowships in partnership with the Life Sciences Research Foundation, the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research, and the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation.
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI)
SFARI’s mission is to improve the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders by funding innovative research of the highest quality and relevance. Launched in 2003, SFARI is a scientific initiative within the Simons Foundation’s suite of programs and is its only program focusing on the science underlying a medical condition.
With a budget of approximately $65 million per year, SFARI supports 175 investigators and since its launch has provided or committed more than $362 million in external research support to more than 250 investigators in the U.S. and abroad.
SFARI now offers annual Research Awards and Pilot Awards, as well as Explorer Awards, awarded on a rolling basis, all of which solicit applications for projects across all areas of autism science. From time to time, SFARI also offers targeted requests for applications, seeking to fund projects in a tightly defined area.
Simons Center for Data Analysis
New experimental techniques in many fields of science are creating enormous amounts of raw, complex and often noisy data. Scientists’ ability to cope with this influx of information, however, has not kept pace. The Simons Center for Data Analysis (SCDA) was formed in 2013 with the purpose of developing innovative methods for examining such large datasets. It aims to address the unsolved mathematical, statistical and computational questions whose resolution will illuminate the underlying science. While SCDA intends to collaborate with researchers across multiple disciplines, its initial focus will be on genomics and neuroscience. The center is particularly interested in problems that present important long-term, systematic mathematical and computational challenges.
Education & Outreach
The Simons Foundation’s Education & Outreach programs seek to stimulate a deeper interest and understanding of science and mathematics among students, professionals and the interested public. Our education initiative, namely, Math for America, focuses on reaching secondary school students with a corps of outstanding STEM teachers and leaders in U.S. public schools. Foundation outreach programs aim to connect outstanding scientists with the general public, communicating the excitement of science and providing opportunities for discourse on emerging or important scientific topics of our times.
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