typically fund the mathematical sciences through extramural grants (Table C-1):

•   National Science Foundation (NSF),

•   Department of Defense (DOD),

—Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR),

—Army Research Office (ARO),

—Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA),

—National Security Agency (NSA),

—Office of Naval Research (ONR),

•   National Institutes of Health (NIH),

—National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS),

—National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), and

•   Department of Energy (DOE),

—Two programs of the Office of Advanced Scientific Computer Research (ASCR): Applied Mathematics and Scientific Discovery Through Advanced Computing (SciDAC)

NSF is consistently the largest single supporter of the mathematical sciences, and it is the sole federal agency that devotes a significant amount of funding to areas of core mathematics. (NSA’s extramural program is focused on core mathematics, but it is quite small.)

Private Sector Mathematical Sciences Funding

The Simons Foundation is a relatively new source of funding for the mathematical sciences and is becoming a major source of support. The Simons Foundation Program for Mathematics and the Physical Sciences focuses on “the theoretical sciences radiating from Mathematics: in particular, the fields of Mathematics, Theoretical Computer Science and Theoretical Physics.”2 In 2009, the Simons Foundation launched a program to provide an estimated $40 million annually for research in mathematics and theoretical aspects of physical science that relate to mathematics. Much of this initial money went to fund 68 postdoctoral positions at 46 universities.

The Simons Foundation will also be funding 40 U.S. and Canadian academic researchers every year as part of the Simons Fellows program, which is intended to increase the opportunity for research leaves from classroom teaching and academic administration and to extend sabbatical leaves to last for a full academic year. At a smaller scale, individual grants of no more than $7,000 are available specifically to defray expenses (such as travel) associated with collaborations. Other mathematical funding comes in the form of Math+X grants, which offer matching endowment grants (up to $1.5 million) to universities to create new tenured Chairs to be shared equally between a department of mathematics and another science or engineering department. The Math+X grants also support one postdoctoral researcher and two graduate students (totaling up to $325,000 annually).Finally, the foundation is funding a new institute for the theory of computing, supported at $6 million annually for up to 10 years.


2 The Simons Foundation, “Mathematics and the Physical Sciences.” Available at https://simonsfoundation.org/mathematics-physical-sciences. Accessed July 12, 2011.

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