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Program Description

The Simons Foundation invites nominations for Simons Foundation Investigators in the Mathematical Modeling of Living Systems (MMLS) award. Investigators in the MMLS program are outstanding scientists, often with mathematics or theoretical physics backgrounds, now engaged in research based on mathematical modeling in the life sciences.

Full announcement can be found at:

Rationale and Scope

New approaches in mathematically based modeling are making increasingly important contributions to the life sciences. The MMLS program aims to support such approaches and foster a scientific culture of theory-experiment collaboration similar to that prevailing in the physical sciences. To encourage young 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 large 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 will fall outside the scope of the program. In all cases, preference will be given to work that relates closely to experiment, developing mathematical models that can explain data, suggest new classes of experiments, and introduce important new concepts.

Basis for Awards

The intent of the program is to help launch the research careers of outstanding junior scientists. Nominees to the program will normally be in the first few years of their first faculty appointment. Nominations will be evaluated on the basis of nominees’ potential for scientific accomplishment.


To be a Simons Investigator in MMLS, a scientist must be engaged in research related to the program, must not previously have been a Simons Investigator, and must have a primary appointment as a faculty member at an educational institution in the U.S., Canada, or United Kingdom, and the primary department affiliation must have a Ph.D. program. At the time of appointment, an Investigator should be in the early stages of an academic career (within eight years of the start of his/her first faculty position) and, typically, be holding an assistant professorship or equivalent position.

Level and Duration of Funding

A Simons Investigator in MMLS is appointed for 5 years; appointments will begin August 1, 2018. An Investigator will receive research support initially set at $100,000 per year. An additional $10,000 per year will be provided to the Investigator’s department. The award will be administered through the Investigator’s institution, which will receive an additional 20 percent per year in indirect costs.

Number of Awards

In 2018, the foundation expects to appoint seven Simons Investigators in MMLS.

Limit on Number of Nominations

Maximum of two nominations per university.

UHM Internal Competition

For this internal competition, please submit the following in the order listed below in one PDF file using the filename: Last name_Simons_Investigator_MMLS_pdf

  1. Cover page. Include the following: Simons Investigator in MMLS; nominee’s name, date of faculty appointment, position title, department, address, phone number, email address
  2. Research statement of less than 2 pages prepared by the nominee and outlining the nominee’s research vision and plans.
  3. Nomination letter (2-page limit) written and signed by the nominator (a relevant university official such as a department chair or dean) addressed to the Simons Foundation, explaining the distinctive scientific contributions of the nominee and including discussion of a few important papers.
  4. List of postdoctoral fellows and Ph.D. students supervised by or currently under the supervision of the nominee.
  5. Curriculum vitae, including email address, Ph.D. year, institution, advisor, postdoctoral institutions and advisors, and positions held subsequent to award of doctorate, and the nominee’s up-to-date publication list.

Submit the PDF file to by 4:30 PM, Monday, October 9th, 2017. Submissions will be reviewed by an Internal Advisory Committee convened by Velma Kameoka, AVCR.

Please note that the selected nominees are required by Simons Foundation to submit letters of support (see below for instructions) from two senior scientists along with other required elements. If selected, submit the signed hardcopies to by 4:30 PM, Monday, October 23rd, 2017.

Letters of Support

Letters of support from two senior scientists (two-page limit for each). The letter writers can be the nominee’s Ph.D. and postdoc advisors or can be other scientists familiar with the nominee’s recent work and research goals. The letters should be signed on letterhead and indicate the nominee’s most significant research accomplishments and provide insight into the nominee’s research program and likely future scientific trajectory.

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