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IMU–Simons African Fellowship Program

The IMU – Simons African Fellowship Program supports research sabbaticals for mathematicians from African developing countries employed in Africa to travel to an internationally known mathematical center of excellence (worldwide) for collaborative research. All travel and living expenses of the grantees will be covered by the fellowship up to 5,000 USD.

This program is funded by the Simons Foundation, NY, USA, a private foundation based in New York City, incorporated in 1994 by Jim and Marilyn Simons, and will run until 31.08.2022.
The Simons Foundation’s mission is to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences. They sponsor a range of programs in the sciences, including grants programs in mathematics and the physical sciences. The primary focus of the foundation’s Mathematics and Physical Sciences division is the theoretical sciences radiating from mathematics: in particular, the fields of mathematics, theoretical computer science and theoretical physics.

Upcoming Deadlines

  • January 15th, 2023 for research visits between May 1st, 2023 and November 1, 2023 (Decisions will be made by March 15th, 2023).  The visit has to be finished by November 1, 2023.
  • April 15th, 2023 for research visits between August 1st, 2023 and November 1st, 2023 (Decisions will be made by June 15th, 2023). The visit has to be finished by November 1, 2023.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, costs incurred from COVID-19 tests, quarantines, as well as COVID-19 vaccines can be covered by the CDC upon request.

Eligibility Criteria

The following criteria must be met by the applicant to be eligible for the program:

  1. The applicant must hold a valid doctoral degree (PhD) in mathematics.
  2. The applicant must be based (place of work) in an African developing country, For the list of eligible countries please click here.
  3. The applicant must be employed as a mathematician in a faculty of a university or an equivalent higher education institution.
  4. The applicant should already have established contact with a mathematician in the host institution in mathematical centre of excellence worldwide and should have a definite research plan together with the host, which must be submitted along with the curriculum vitae of both mathematicians at the time of applying for this grant. This plan must be approved by the host as well.
  5. The applicant has been granted appropriate leave of absence from his/her home institution during the period of the visit.
  6. The applicant must be formally invited by the host institution, through a written letter which clearly specifies the period of the research visit and the extent of the host institutions' financial commitment and support to the applicant.
    Host institutions are expected to provide office space, free internet access and other basic amenities. The host institution is also expected to help the applicant to find appropriate accommodation. In the event that no guest house or flat is available, the host institution has to issue a letter that accommodation is only possible in an economic hotel/apartment hotel with kitchenette. The invitation must be signed by the dean/head of the faculty of the host institution (not the host).
  7. The minimal length of a visit is one month. There is no maximal length, however this is a sabbatical/ research visit and not a fellowship position in the host institution (e.g. doing a post-doctoral).

Please note that the program is intended to support mathematicians for a limited research period and not for post graduate courses or post doctoral training.
The grant covers travel and basic living expenses of African mathematicians working in Africa (from a developing country, as defined by the IMU for all its schemes) during the sabbatical.

Application Requirements

The online application form for the IMU-Simons Program must be completed and submitted together with the documents listed below.

A completed application form must include all of the following documents as one PDF Document:

  • CV of applicant (max. 3 pages)
  • CV of the host (max. 3 pages)
  • Detailed research plan which should include expected interaction with local mathematicians and PhD students, general aim of the visit, and schedule of research visit (including planned lectures/ meetings with colleagues etc.)
  • Statement from host expressing views on the visit and the research plan
  • Invitation letter by the host institution which clearly specifies the period of the visit as well as the extent of its financial commitment and support. It is expected that the host institution would at least offer office space, free Internet access and other basic amenities. A template invitation letter can be found here. The invitation has to come from the dean of the faculty for the host institution.
  • Confirmation letter by the home institution which clearly specifies the employment status of the grantee and that the applicant has been granted appropriate leave of absence from his/her home institution which will cover the period of the visit. A template can be found here.
  • Tentative budget (in USD). Please use this template and refer to the grant details for items that can be covered.

Only applications submitted and completed by the respective deadlines can be considered for the program. 
Applicants are advised to send in applications at least two weeks prior to the deadline, in case of missing information or documents.

Grant Details

The grant con cover only the following costs for the applicant up to 5,000 USD:

  1. Travel costs
    • Flight costs (Economy) Grantees are asked to book the flights independently.
    • (Public) transport (surface transport by rail or bus between the nearest city where the airport is located and the headquarters of the candidate or the city/town where the host institution is located, if necessary). 
    • Maximum four (4) Taxi fares (on submission of receipts) may be allowed to travel between the home and the airport/railway station (upon arrival and departure).
    • In case the applicant has to stay in a hotel before departure or upon arrival, this needs to be mentioned in the budget details. Maximum one (1) night (both arrival and departure) can be paid from the grant.
  2. Visa fees
  3. Travel insurance charges 
  4. Basic living cost (daily allowance based on living cost of the visiting country/city, This amount includes the cost for public transport and all other living costs). For a list please go here. If the accommodation includes breakfast or any other meals, the daily amount will be reduced.
  5. Accommodation cost in the host country (hotel is only allowed if the host provides a statement that no guesthouse or rented flat is available and for a max. of 4 weeks. If you stay longer than 4 weeks you have to rent a suitable apartment or guesthouse). Receipts for cash payments for accommodation costs can not be accepted! You have to pay via a trackable transfer method.

All invoices for travel cost, visa, insurance, accommodation and up to four taxi receipts and all boarding tickets have to be kept by the grantee and be sent (original) to the CDC/ IMU Secretariat by post.

If you travel during public holidays in the host country and while the host institution is closed for public holidays (e.g. during Christmas time) you cannot received basic living cost during the period the institution is closed, but your accommodation cost can be paid. 

Please note that the grant does not cover any travel costs, accommodation and living costs for requests for additional trips (e.g. to participate in conferences/ workshops) during this time. Those costs have to be covered by the grantee or his/her host institution. The living and accommodation cost only cover the research period. In case the grantees stays abroad for private or other purposes not related to the research visit neither living or accommodation cost can be covered from the grant.

The grant is paid in two installments:

  • First payment for accommodation in the host country, travel insurance, visa, transport to the airport and 50% of the living cost before departure.
  • Second payment for the remaining living costs after the visit
  • To receive the second payment the report, pictures and all invoices must be send to the IMU Secretariat before the second payment can be initiated.

The grantee must submit a detailed financial report with all invoices and boarding tickets to the IMU Secretariat (in original via postage) two weeks after the conclusion of the visit. Failure to do so will forfeit the second payment.


Selection Committee

The applicants will be screened by the Grant Selection Committee (GSC) consisting of the CDC Secretary for Grants Selection as Chair and has six other members - Three from CDC and three others each representing Latin America, Africa and Asia respectively.


Application Forms

Please note that in order to access the online application form, you must first create an account.

You may create an account on the account registration page. You will be able to access the online form once you log into your account.
Online Application Form  Tentative Budget Form
Grant Reporting Form  Daily Allowance List


  • If you do not receive an automated reply after submitting the application, let us know via
  • If you are applying for the IMU-Simons African Fellowship Program then you cannot apply for the Abel Visiting Scholar Program simultaneously.
  • If for some reason the visit is postponed/ canceled, you must inform the IMU Secretariat immediately.
  • All spending must be verified with invoices and funds spent without receipts have to be returned to CDC.

In case of any question regarding the program, please contact the IMU Secretariat via e-mail

IMU-Simons African Fellowship Recipients