Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Heising-Simons Faculty Fellows Program?

The Heising-Simons Faculty Fellows Program catalyzes scientific discovery by investing in high-risk, high-reward research directions. The Program supports exceptional faculty working on topics in a diverse set of fields, including astronomy, physics, geology and geophysics, materials sciences (in both physics and engineering), and physical and materials chemistry. Program awards will focus on creative and novel approaches that promise to lead to important scientific breakthroughs contributing to a greater understanding of the universe and its components, from the molecular and atomic to the geological and planetary scales, among other areas. Awards also fund the development of new tools, techniques and measurements that help probe these physical phenomena in new ways.

How are Fellows selected?

Awards will be made by a Selection Committee comprised of several distinguished University of California, Berkeley faculty in the relevant fields. No member of the Selection Committee may be considered for an award from the Heising-Simons Faculty Fellows Program, but the Committee may include past Fellows. The Committee will convene each spring to review proposals and select two new Fellows. 

How do I apply for a Heising-Simons Fellows award? 

Each fall, UC Berkeley faculty will be invited to submit proposals to be considered as Fellows. To apply, please complete the  Fellows application here. Your proposal does not need to be reviewed by the Sponsored Projects Office.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Those eligible for selection are early- and mid-career ladder-rank faculty (defined, respectively, as Assistant and Associate Professors at the time of application) who propose research in the specified fields.  All early and mid-career faculty are eligible to apply, regardless of their home department. Criteria for selection will emphasize the potential of the candidate’s work to push the boundaries of current knowledge and have future impact on a fundamental research problem, an investigator’s creativity, the importance and originality of the proposed research, as well as the track record of the candidate. Eligible faculty who reflect the University’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion are strongly encouraged to apply. 

What is the award amount and frequency?

The Selection Committee will select two Fellows each year.  Each Fellow will receive $1,000,000 over a term of five years, or $200,000 per year.

How can the award be used?

Funding may be used at the discretion of each Fellow to support undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral investigators, purchase equipment and supplies and/or other scholarly and research support that advances a Fellow’s proposed project.

Can awards be made to teams of UC Berkeley researchers?

While these awards are intended to support individual faculty, up to 2 co-PIs can apply for one award. The selection committee will expect that both PIs will contribute similar effort to the proposed project. The general eligibility requirements apply to both PIs.

What is expected from the Heising-Simons Faculty Fellows?

Once selected for an award, Heising-Simons Fellows are expected to provide annual progress updates.

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline for the 2022 cohort was on March 27, 2022. 

When does support start?

Support for the 2022 cohort begins on July 1, 2022.