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Limited Submissions: Internal Call for Proposals for The Simons Foundation’s Simons Investigators in Mathematics, Physics, Astrophysics and Theoretical Computer Science.

Dear Chairs and Center/Institute Directors, and Administrators,

The Simons Foundation invites the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to submit up to two nominations for the Simons Investigators programs in the following categories: Mathematics, (Theoretical) Physics, (Theoretical) Astrophysics and Theoretical Computer Science. Within the Physics program, the foundation also invites an additional nomination for Theoretical Physics in Life Sciences Investigators.

Key Dates

UNC Internal Deadline: UNC Internal deadline: 11:59PM, Monday, August 31, 2020

Simons’ Nomination Deadline: October 28, 2020

Selection Rationale

The Simons Investigators program aims to provide a stable base of support for outstanding theoretical midcareer scientists, enabling them to undertake long-term investigations of fundamental questions in their fields. The intent of the program is to support these scientists in their most productive years, when they are establishing new research directions, providing leadership in the field and effectively mentoring junior scientists.


The nominees should not know they are being nominated, if possible.

  • Must be an Investigator in Mathematics, Physics, Astrophysics or Theoretical Computer Science
  • Must be engaged in theoretical research
  • Must be tenured at the time of the appointment
  • Must be mid-career (typically, early-stage tenured full professors)
  • Must not previously have been a Simons Investigator
  • Must have a primary appointment as a faculty member at UNC-CH (note that the appointment need not be in a mathematics, physics or computer science department).

Note: The Simons Foundation is again this year allowing up to two Simons Investigator in Physics awards — out of seven — allowed from well-established midcareer researchers who develop and apply advance theoretical physics ideas and methods in the life sciences.

The foundation’s expectation is that an Investigator in Theoretical Physics in Life Sciences nominee would have a level of theoretical sophistication on par with the best practices used in theoretical condensed matter physics. The theory must eventually connect with an experiment, suggesting new questions and new classes of experiments, introducing important new concepts and explaining data, thus fostering a scientific culture of theory-experiment collaborations, which is characteristic of physics.

For information on the typical profile of successful nominations, please visit the following website, where a list of current awardees may be found:

Nomination Materials

Nominations should be treated confidentially. The nominees should not know they are being nominated, if possible. Due by 11:59 p.m. Monday, August 31, 2020: Submit the following titled “Simons 2020 Submission” to

1. Nomination Letter (two-page limit) on letterhead explaining the distinctive scientific contributions of the nominee, focusing on scientific accomplishments of the past five years and including discussion of a few important papers.

2. Indicate for which program applicant is being nominated Mathematics, Physics, Astrophysics, or Computer Science and if this is a Theoretical Physics in Life Sciences Investigator (Physics only).

3. Nominee’s curriculum vitae (no page limit) The nominee’s curriculum vitae, including, but not limited to, Ph.D. year, institution, advisor, postdoctoral institutions and advisors, positions held subsequent to award of doctorate, a list of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows mentored by the nominee and the nominee’s up-to-date publication list.

Award Information

Estimated Number of Awards: In 2021, the foundation expects to appoint up to four Investigators in Mathematics, up to seven in Physics (including up to two in Theoretical Physics in Life Sciences), up to two in Astrophysics and up to three in Theoretical Computer Science.

Anticipated Funding Amount and Duration: A Simons Investigator is appointed for an initial period of five years for up to $132,000 per year. Appointments will begin August 1, 2021. An Investigator will receive research support in the amount of $100,000 per year. An additional $10,000 per year will be provided to the Investigator’s department. The Investigator’s institution will receive an additional 20 percent per year in indirect costs

Additional Information

Details of the programs, including eligibility requirements and nomination procedure, are provided at the following URL:

Please contact the Limited Submissions Team with questions at