Simons Foundation

Simons Foundation & The BRAIN Initiative

The Simons Foundation’s mission is to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences. Its Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain (SCGB) aims to expand our understanding of the role of internal brain processes in order to discover the nature, role and mechanisms of the neural activity associated with cognition. SCGB investigators seek to identify and characterize general principles of neural coding and dynamics in order to uncover a mechanistic understanding of brain function.

The Simons Foundation also supports other large-scale programs performing science consistent with that of the BRAIN Initiative: the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, which supports basic research into the underlying causes of autism, and the neuroscience group of the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Biology, which aims to understand how the brain analyzes large and complex datasets streamed by sensory organs, combining experimental and theoretical approaches.

About The Simons Foundation

Cofounded in New York City by Jim and Marilyn Simons, the foundation celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014.

At its core, the Simons Foundation exists to support basic — or discovery-driven — scientific research, undertaken in pursuit of understanding the phenomena of our world. 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 2016, the foundation also launched an internal research division, the Flatiron Institute, to advance scientific research through computational methods, including data analysis, modeling and simulation. The institute comprises centers dedicated to development of computational tools for application in astrophysics, biology, quantum physics, and a scientific computing core.

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.