Simons Foundation Simons Investigators in the Mathematical Modeling of Living Systems (MMLS) Solicitation

Program Summary 

The Simons Foundation invites nominations for Simons Investigators in the Mathematical Modeling of Living Systems (MMLS), a joint program of the Mathematics and Physical Sciences and Life Sciences divisions of the Simons Foundation. Investigators in MMLS are outstanding scientists, often with mathematics or theoretical physics backgrounds, now engaged in research based on mathematical modeling in the life sciences. The MMLS program aims to support theoretical approaches making important contributions to the life sciences and, thus, to foster a scientific culture of theory-experiment collaborations similar to that prevailing in physics. To encourage researchers to pursue this endeavor, the MMLS program will provide a long-term, stable base of support, enabling a focus on model-based approaches to important issues in the life sciences. A broad spectrum of research areas within the life sciences will be considered, ranging from cellular-level issues of organization, regulation, signaling and morphogenic dynamics to the properties of organisms and ecology, as well as neuroscience and evolution; however, preference will be given to areas in which modeling approaches are less established and, for this reason, bioinformatics- and genomics-related proposals fall outside the scope of the program. In all cases, preference will be given to work developing deep theoretical ideas relevant to experiments, suggesting new questions and new classes of experiments, introducing important, new concepts, and explaining data. Theory must connect with experiment, and candidates should articulate their own views about the nature of this connection, rather than accepting conventional wisdom; theory is more than data analysis.

The intent of the Investigator in MMLS program is to help the research careers of outstanding scientists working on mathematical and theoretical approaches to topics in the life sciences. Nominations will be evaluated on the basis of nominees’ potential for scientific accomplishment in these areas. Funding may be used for the following categories (see solicitation for details): summer salary, salary support for postdocs and students, travel, visitors and collaborators, research equipment and supplies.


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST September 4, 2018

Sponsor Application Deadline: 9:59pm MST October 31, 2018

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Nomination Letter (Up to 2 pages): Please explain the distinctive scientific contributions of the nominee, focusing on the scientific accomplishments of the past five years and including discussion of a few important papers.
  • Nominee’s CV
  • Research Statement (Up to 2 pages): Prepared by the nominee outlining the nominee’s research vision and plans.

To access the online application, visit:


To be eligible to be nominated for an Investigator in MMLS award, a scientist must be engaged in research related to the MMLS program and must not previously have been a Simons Investigator. He/she must have a primary appointment as a faculty member (tenured or non-tenured) at an educational institution in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom or Ireland, on a campus within these countries, and the primary department affiliation must have a Ph.D. program. At the time of the appointment start date, an Investigator should be in the early stages of an academic career and must be within ten years of the start of his/her first faculty position. Generally, a ‘primary appointment’ is defined as one where the Investigator is a full-time employee of an academic institution with a teaching load that is comparable to that of other faculty members in the same department.

Investigators are not eligible to hold a Simons Fellowship or another Simons Investigator award for the duration of the Simons Investigator award. Investigators are expected to attend the MPS annual meeting, held at the Simons Foundation in October of each year, to discuss their activities. Costs associated with attending this meeting will be covered by the foundation.

A nominee cannot submit his/her own nomination.

The program explicitly does not support translational or specifically human disease– related research.

Limited Submission Guidelines

The foundation asks each university to submit up to two nominations to the Investigators in MMLS program.

Award Information and Duration

Award Amount: Up to $132,000 per year ($100,000 per year in research support for the Investigator, $10,000 per year to the Investigator’s department, additional 20% per year in indirect costs to the Investigator’s institution).

Award Duration: Investigators are appointed for an initial period of five years. Renewal for an additional five years may be considered, contingent upon the evaluation of scientific impact of the Investigator prior to the end of year five. Appointments will begin on August 1, 2019.

Number of Awards: In 2019, the foundation expects to appoint up to seven Simons Investigators in MMLS.