The Simons Foundation’s mission is to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences.
The Simons Foundation at its core exists to support basic — or discovery-driven — scientific research, undertaken in pursuit of understanding the phenomena of our world without specific application in mind.
The foundation’s support of scientists generally takes the form of direct grants to individual investigators and projects, through their academic institutions. The foundation makes grants in four areas: Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, autism research (SFARI) and Education & Outreach. In 2013 the foundation also launched an internal research division, the Simons Center for Data Analysis.
The Simons Foundation seeks to create strong collaborations and foster cross-pollination of ideas between investigators, as these interactions often lead to unexpected breakthroughs and new understanding. In an effort to directly foster such interaction between scientists, in 2012 the foundation launched a new collaborative funding model, the Simons Collaborations, which bring funded investigators — sometimes from different disciplines — together to work on a timely and important problem. To date, five Simons Collaborations have been launched in and across mathematics, physics and the life sciences. The Simons Center for Data Analysis similarly functions to unite scientists, usually across disciplines, for collaboration.