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AMS-Simons Research Enhancement Grants for Primarily Undergraduate Institution (PUI) Faculty

AMS-Simons Research Enhancement Grant for Primarily Undergraduate Institution Faculty.  Image of desks and chalkboard.

The American Mathematical Society is pleased to offer this program to foster and support research collaboration by mathematicians employed full-time at primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs), i.e., those colleges and universities that do not award doctoral degrees in mathematics. With generous funding from the Simons Foundation; the AMS; and Eve, Kirsten, Lenore, and Ada of the Menger family, at least 40 awards will be made per year. In support of the AMS’s continuing efforts to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion in the mathematical research enterprise, we strongly encourage and welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds and experiences. The AMS is committed to selecting a diverse group of researchers from PUIs across the country, from small liberal arts colleges to large public universities with master’s (but not doctoral) mathematics degree programs.

 

The application is closed on MathPrograms.org, until January 2025. Review the PowerPoint presentation from the November 2023 informational webinar for prospective applicants.

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Who is eligible?

Mathematicians with an active research program employed full-time in tenured or tenure-track positions at PUIs in the United States are eligible to apply. For the purpose of this program, PUI institutions are colleges and universities that do not confer doctoral degrees in mathematics. Additionally, to be eligible, applicants must have earned a PhD degree at least five years before the start of the grant. For the 2025 application cycle, that is prior to August 1, 2020.

The applicant's research must be in a disciplinary research area supported by the Division of Mathematical Sciences of the National Science Foundation. Faculty with appointments solely in statistics departments are not eligible. The intended awardees will not concurrently hold external research funding exceeding up to $3,000 per year and will not be in residence at a National Science Foundation institute. Additionally, no more than two applicants will be awarded from the same institution each application cycle. No person may receive an AMS-Simons Research Enhancement for PUI grant more than once.

What will this grant provide?

Each year for three years, awardees will receive up to \$3,000 to support research-related activities. Annual discretionary funds for an awardee’s department and administrative funds for an awardee's institution will be available to institutions that administer the grant on behalf of the AMS. No additional institutional overhead or indirect costs will be covered with these award funds.

Allowable expenses

Activities that will further the awardee’s research program are allowed. These expenses include but are not limited to conference participation, institute visits, collaboration travel (awardee or collaborator), computer equipment or software, family-care expenses, hiring a teaching assistant, publication expenses, stationery, supplies, books, and membership fees to professional organizations. During the three-year funding period, the awardee may spend up to $2,500 on electronic devices to support their research activities.

What is the timeline for this grant?

Applications will be accepted on MathPrograms.org in January 2025. Applicants will be notified of their status via email in late June 2025. For 2025–2026 awardees, reimbursable expenses may be incurred no earlier than July 1, 2025.

Awardees for the 2024-2025 application cycle will be notified via email no later than July 3, 2024.

Application Materials

Applications will be accepted through Mathprograms.org. Application materials will include:

  • Cover letter. In this cover letter, up to one page, you will describe how you expect the award to have an impact on your research and on your development as a mathematician. The cover letter may include information on factors affecting research productivity, such as teaching loads, significant institutional or departmental duties, and features of the student population and type of institution. You may also wish to address any special circumstances not addressed elsewhere in the application, including but not limited to career interruptions.
  • NSF-style biographical sketch. This document should be at most three pages and include the following sections: professional preparation, appointments, products (at most five products most closely related to the proposed research), other significant products (at most five products, whether or not related to the proposed project), and synergistic activities (at most five specific activities that demonstrate the broader impact of the individual’s professional and scholarly activities).
  • Summary of previous research. This summary, up to one page, should describe your past research results.
  • Research proposal. This proposal should be at most three pages with (including references) describing the research goals and/or objectives and the potential for the proposed work to add new knowledge and impact the profession. You should include potential collaborators and geographic locations where the work will be conducted. Applicants are encouraged to indicate in the project description the extent to which, if any, generative AI technology was used and how it was used to develop their proposal.
  • NSF-style summary of current and pending support. This list should describe current and pending support.
  • Budget statement. This two-page statement should detail the anticipated expenses and their connection to the outcomes described in the research proposal.
  • Institutional verification. This prompt will send an email to the administrator at your institution (preferably a representative in your office of sponsored programs or equivalent) who can coordinate the administration of your award if your application is successful.

More questions?

Email AMS Programs Staff with questions. We are here to help! Please note the frequently asked questions below.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Eligibility

Are faculty members with a shared tenured/tenure-track position eligible?

Because of the way the grant is structured, it can only be awarded to individuals who are in full-time tenured/tenure-track positions.

My institution does not offer tenure. Am I eligible?

Yes. Note that the application allows for the response, My college or university does not confer tenure.

I got my PhD four years ago. Am I eligible?

For 2024, eligible applicants will have earned their PhD prior to August 1, 2019.

My university offers some doctoral degrees. Am I at a PUI?

For purposes of this award, an applicant is at a PUI if their college or university does not offer a PhD in mathematics.

I am at a community college. May I apply?

Yes, the only institutional requirements are that the applicant’s college or university is in the United States and does not offer a PhD in mathematics.

What if I am in a non-mathematics department?

The only departmental restrictions are that faculty members who are appointed solely to a statistics department or who are in mathematics education are not eligible to apply. What is important is that an applicant's research is in a disciplinary research area supported by the NSF Division of Mathematical Sciences, and that the applicant makes the case in their cover letter that their work is mathematical in nature.

Is AMS membership a requirement?

No, AMS membership is not a requirement.

Is U.S. location or U.S. citizenship a requirement?

Applicants must be employed full-time at a college or university in the United States. There are no citizenship or permanent residency requirements.

Could a heavy teaching load determine if you get the award?

Awardees in the first cohort had a variety of teaching loads, and it is likely that 2024 awardees will have a range of teaching loads as well. How a teaching load affects an applicant's ability to engage in research should be addressed in the cover letter.

How much does the institution where someone works affect their chance of receiving a grant?

While each application is reviewed individually, no more than two grants will be awarded per institution.

What if I am unsure what my institution's equivalent of the "office of sponsored programs" is?

An applicant's institution should have an administrative office that supports researchers in their efforts to secure external funding and in the management of externally funded projects. Although this office may not be called an "office of sponsored programs," it would typically be located outside the applicant's academic department.

Application Materials

What changes have been made to the application since 2023?

The way to create an NSF Biographical Sketch has changed. Visit https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sciencv, log into your NSF account, follow the prompts in the walk-through form, select "Create new document," choose the "NSF Biographical Sketch" format, and download the PDF.

The way to create an NSF Current and Pending Support document has changed. Visit https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sciencv, log into your NSF account, follow the prompts in the walk-through form, select "Create new document," choose the "NSF Current and Pending (Other) Support" format, and download the PDF.

The page limit for the research proposal has been increased to three pages to include space for a reference list.

Applicants will be required to request an institutional verification from their institution's office of sponsored programs (or equivalent). The institution representative will be asked to verify the applicant's employment status and to indicate who should be contacted if the applicant is successful. Receipt of institutional verification from the applicant's institution is required for an application to be considered complete.

May teams submit proposals?

No, individuals submit proposals. Each eligible member of a collaborative effort is encouraged to submit a proposal. Applicants are prompted in the application to identify collaborators.

Are references included in the page counts for the Summary of Previous Research and the Research Proposal?

Yes, the one-page limit for the Summary of Previous Research and the three-page maximum for the Research Proposal both include references.

Should the proposed research be a continuation of prior work, or may it be a new project?

Both types of research proposals are acceptable. In the case of a proposal for a new project, however, the applicant should provide credible evidence of their ability to achieve what they are proposing. If the applicant does not have prior publications in the proposed area of research, they will need to articulate a clear, specific plan of how they will accomplish what they are proposing.

May an applicant propose different areas to pursue? Or should the application focus on one research idea?

Reviewers consider the specificity of the preparation and approach presented in each proposal. If an applicant presents wide-ranging and disparate lines of research, it may be difficult to discern a cohesive picture of their research agenda. With only three pages for the research proposal, space is limited to describe multiple projects in depth. It may be more effective to present a compelling case for one or two projects rather than multiple projects.

How does the committee weigh the research accomplishments of applicants from different types of institutions?

Reviewers are instructed to look at a variety of evidence and not only research publications.

Do student and collaborator participation enhance the application?

Research enhancement and collaboration are stated goals of this program. Applicants may speak to how their research agenda could have broader impacts on their institution by inclusion of their undergraduate students. Research does not necessarily have to connect with students, but student and collaborator involvement are certainly important in terms of the impact of the award.

May I include student conference travel funding in my budget statement?

The proposed activities must directly further the awardee's research program, so the applicant must detail how student expenses will meet that expectation.

Would a start-up package or other faculty development funding be reported as grant funding?

In the NSF Current and Pending Support document, this funding is classified as an in-kind contribution. A start-up package or other internal funding does not count toward the $3,000 limit on external research support.

Is feedback available on my prior application that may help me prepare this year's proposal?

Formal feedback on prior applications is not available. Applicants are encouraged to use online resources, including the program webpage and webinar presentation, and opportunities to ask AMS Programs staff questions at conferences and via email to help them prepare new proposals.

Could the AMS share example proposals from previous awardees?

While the AMS shared a news release announcing the recipients of the grant for the inaugural cycle, awardees' proposals will not be shared.

Grant Policies and Eligible Expenses

What happens if an awardee moves to an administration position during the grant period?

Awardees and their institutions are required to submit technical and expense reports annually. If an awardee moves into an administrative role at their PUI and continues to advance their research agenda, the awardee would not be required to forfeit the grant.

What happens if an awardee moves to a different institution during the grant period?

Program eligibility depends on an awardee's remaining in a tenured/tenure-track, full-time position at a PUI. If an awardee moves to another PUI, the award may continue, but if an awardee moves to a non-PUI, then the awardee would have to forfeit the award.

May publication expenses go towards open access fees?

Yes, they may, as they are being used to drive and advance the applicant's research.

May funds be used to for cloud computing, such as renting computing time through a web services provider? Does the $2,500 limit apply in this case?

If cloud computing is a need of the research project, over the three years of the grant, up to $2,500 may be used to cover it.