Simons Collaboration on the Origins of Life Postdoctoral Fellowships

Funding Agency:
Simons Foundation

The origin of life is among the great unsolved scientific problems of our age. To advance our knowledge of the processes that led to the emergence of life, the Simons Foundation established the Simons Collaboration on the Origins of Life (SCOL). The collaboration supports creative, innovative research on topics such as the astrophysical and planetary context of the origins of life, the development of prebiotic chemistry, the assembly of the first cells, the advent of Darwinian evolution and the earliest signs of life on the young Earth.

In the past decade, a small number of researchers have developed a “systems” approach to origins-of-life research that connects disciplines, technologies and institutions in new collaborations. It is likely that answers to important scientific questions may come in the next decade, making this a significant moment in the changeover that results from an influx of new talent, new instrumentation and a growing global community of researchers.

The collaboration is now inviting applications for postdoctoral fellowships to support independent research on topics related to the origins of life at one or more laboratories or research institutions in any country. For more information on the Simons Collaboration on the Origins of Life, please click here.

The collaboration seeks to engage the ideas and creativity of researchers around the world by providing an array of opportunities for postdoctoral fellows to interact with colleagues from different disciplines and programs, both online and in person, including webinars, workshops and annual symposia. As fellows are expected to participate fully in all SCOL events, these opportunities are designed to not only strengthen the collaboration but also provide the most fruitful mechanism for bringing a growing origins-of-life community together. Applications from all origins-related disciplines are encouraged.

First-Stage Proposals Deadline: September 11, 2018

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Candidates must have received their Ph.D. or equivalent degree within five years of the fellowship’s start date. Applications may be submitted from scientists in domestic and foreign nonprofit organizations; public and private institutions, such as colleges, universities, hospitals, laboratories and units of state and local government; and eligible agencies of the federal government. There are no citizenship or country requirements. Preference will be given to postdocs who are not in currently funded SCOL Investigator labs.

Amount Description

Appointments last for three years, contingent upon continued research on questions relevant to origins of life as assessed by annual progress reports. The annual stipend will be $62,000 USD. The stipend may be supplemented by the host institution or the mentoring PI. There will be up to a $10,000 allowance for health insurance or equivalent insurance in the country in which the fellow’s institution is located, for the fellow and his or her family. The allowance is only for health insurance and not any other benefit(s). Any unexpended health insurance funds may be reallocated to the research allowance. An annual allowance of up to $20,000 may be used for supplies, publication costs, small equipment and other research-related expenses. Of the $20,000 allowance, up to $6,000 of it may be used for research-related travel and up to $3,000 of it for relocation costs of the fellow and his or her family to the host institution. Relocation costs must be in accordance with the policies of the host institution. Payment cannot be made directly to fellows. No indirect costs may be taken.

Funding Type



Post Doctoral Fellows


Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical - Basic Science

External Deadline

September 11, 2018