New Simons Foundation support dedicated to encouraging early-career women in physics
Perimeter Institute has been awarded a $750,000 TGI grant from the Simons Foundation to expand the Emmy Noether Fellowship program. Simons Emmy Noether Fellowships are awarded annually to early- and mid-career women and under-represented groups in physics, who spend up to a year at Perimeter free of teaching and administrative duties, enabling them to focus on their research and to collaborate with international peers.
Begun as a pilot program at Perimeter in 2013 and supported by the Simons Foundation since 2018, the program has awarded more than 50 fellowships to date. By targeting early-career researchers, the program often provides support at a critical juncture in researchers’ careers.
“It is more valuable than you can imagine,” says Perimeter Faculty Member Bianca Dittrich, who helped found the program. “We’ve had incredible talent come through the program, and seeing the work they accomplish in their time here, and where they’ve gone after, is inspiring.”
The newly expanded program will open up opportunities for postdoctoral fellows, who were previously ineligible for the fellowships. The program also supports lecture series and conferences such as the “Women at the Intersection of Mathematics and Theoretical Physics” series, and encourages return visits from fellows to continue ongoing collaborations.
Recent fellow Malena Tejeda-Yeomans found the program a boon to her research. “The Emmy Noether Fellowship came at a point in my life where I was craving the space – the mental space and the physical space – to pursue many aspects of fundamental physics that I couldn’t have done in my home university,” she says. “It was the perfect opportunity to go back to the fundamental roots of my training and do some projects that I wouldn’t have been able to do.”
More than 100 research papers have been published by past fellows based on work carried out during their fellowships, and many of their collaborations are ongoing.
Perimeter’s Director Robert Myers commented, “By giving these early-career women time to focus on their research in physics, the Simons Emmy Noether Fellowship program is making a real difference, advancing both science and gender equity in our field. This funding ensures the continuation of this valuable program for years to come.”
Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation, and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for-profit Institute is a unique public-private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement.