The Simons Foundation
About the Simons Foundation
The Simons Foundation is a private foundation based in New York City, incorporated in 1994 by James and Marilyn Simons.
The Foundation’s mission is to advance the frontiers of research in the basic sciences and mathematics. It sponsors a range of programs that aim to promote a deeper, more fundamental understanding of our world.
Mathematics and the Physical Sciences (MPS)
The Foundation’s MPS Program’s primary focus is on the theoretical sciences radiating from mathematics; in particular, the fields of mathematics, theoretical computer science, and theoretical physics.
Although the Foundation has supported basic research in mathematics and physics for years at institutions around the globe, the mode of its support entered a new phase in fall 2009 with the introduction of grant opportunities having open application procedures. It is intended that this will become the Foundation’s primary mode of operation.
In 2010 the MPS Program issued its first requests for grant applications. These requests offered grants to establish postdoctoral fellowships to promote collaboration between researchers, create professorships that combine mathematics with other fields, and endow an institute for theoretical computer science. Other projects are under way, including the Africa Mathematics Project, intended to bolster mathematics scholarship on the continent of Africa, and an oral history project, a series of interviews with renowned mathematicians and scientists that will be made available to the public for viewing.
To find out more about the Foundation’s MPS programs, please click here.
The Simons Foundation’s initial support of life sciences work has tended to focus on research that promotes synergy between biology and mathematics. Such projects have included quantitative biology programs at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the Institut des Hautes études Scientifiques, the Institute for Advanced Study, and The Rockefeller University.
The Life Sciences program is expected to expand in scope over the next two to three years.
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI)
To date, the Simons Foundation’s largest discrete initiative has been in autism research. This program seeks to improve the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders by funding, catalyzing, and driving innovative research of the greatest quality and relevance.
In 2007 SFARI issued its first Request for Applications, its goal being to attract the best investigators to the field. SFARI has, in the years since, given grants to 150 investigators in the United States and abroad. In addition, to facilitate the field as a whole, SFARI has created the Simons Simplex Collection of extensive genetic and phenotypic data from nearly 3,000 families that have a child affected by autism.
Although SFARI’s immediate priority is to benefit individuals challenged by autism spectrum disorders, the program’s research is expected to yield insights into the neural mechanisms of fundamental human capabilities, complementing the mission of the Simons Foundation to advance research in the basic sciences and mathematics.
For a more detailed description of SFARI, please visit SFARI.org.
For more information on the Simons Foundation’s activity, please download the Annual Report.