APS Innovation Fund

The APS Innovation Fund provides funding to advance collaborative projects that support the APS mission "to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics for the benefit of humanity, promote physics, and service the broader physics community."

APS will award grants led by current APS members ranging from $25,000-$100,000/year to fund 3-5 projects for up to two years that advance an interest of the physics community that have arisen as a result of current circumstances and align with the APS Strategic Plan.

Special COVID-19 Innovation Fund Cycle (IF-COVID19)

While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on our community, it is also the case, as stated by the APS President and CEO, that the pandemic presents "an existential challenge, which can accelerate positive change, spur innovation, and make us stronger and more resilient." To facilitate these activities and respond to unique needs of the community as a result of the pandemic, APS is re-opening the Innovation Fund for a condensed cycle to fund projects that address critical needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Note, these funds are not intended to support scientific research related to the virus (e.g., testing masks, infectious disease models, statistical analysis of spread, antibody tests).

The special COVID-19 Innovation Fund cycle has closed.

Questions? Email if@aps.org

Innovation Fund Logo

Funding Details

Amount: $25,000-$100,000/year

Duration: Up to 2 years, with second-year funding dependent on satisfactory progress. After two years, funded projects should do one of the following:

  • End (for one-time efforts)
  • Obtain outside funding
  • Be deemed important enough to be integrated into APS’s operating budget

Indirect Costs: Overhead is allowed but limited to 5% of APS Innovation Fund grant expenses. The requested budget, including overhead, cannot exceed $100,000/year.

IF-COVID19 Targeted Start Date: July 1, 2020


The IF-COVID19 cycle is a call for non-research proposals that support critical needs of the physics community that have arisen as a result of COVID-19. The proposals should respond to short- or medium-term impacts on the global physics community directly related to the pandemic.

IF-COVID19 proposals could include, but are not limited to:

  • A task force, workshop, or study to explore a critical issue facing the physics community
  • An innovative public engagement experiment
  • A new approach to science advocacy
  • A means to advance key APS member interests including diversity, careers, education, or member services
  • A path to enable APS to have greater industry engagement or global impact

Proposals should not support:

  • Existing activities
  • Physics research

IF-COVID19 is not intended to support research related to COVID-19 (e.g., testing masks, infectious disease models, statistical analysis of spread, antibody tests).

IF-COVID19 Timeline

May 15, 2020: Deadline for initial 1-page preliminary proposals

May 18-22, 2020: Proposals reviewed by the Innovation Fund Steering Committee

May 26, 2020: Finalists are notified and asked to submit a full proposal

June 12, 2020: Deadline for finalists to submit full proposals

June 30, 2020: Grant recipients are notified

Review Process

  1. The APS-appointed, Innovation Fund Steering Committee will make a decision on which pre-proposals to advance to the full proposal stage based upon the Selection Criteria.
  2. APS staff will collaborate with finalists and/or provide feedback as to the feasibility of the implementation of full proposals.
  3. The APS Board will make funding decisions based upon Innovation Fund Steering Committee recommendations.

Selection Criteria

Proposals must be:

  • Relevant: Aligns with the APS Strategic Plan
  • Beneficial: Advances the interests of the physics community
  • Innovative: Enables creative ideas that are not a continuation of current activities
  • Measurable: Provides clear metrics for assessing the expected results
  • Responsive: Relates directly to a challenge created by the COVID-19 pandemic

Details about the evaluation criteria and review process can be found here.

Innovation Fund Steering Committee Members

  • David Gross, 2019 APS President, co-chair IF
  • Theodore Hodapp, APS Director of Project Development, co-chair IF
  • Frances Hellman, 2022 APS President
  • Andrea Liu, 2020 Speaker of the APS Council
  • David Schultz, APS DAMOP Councilor
  • Francis (Slake) Slakey, APS Chief Government Affairs Officer
  • Howard Stone, APS DFD Councilor

Nominees and award and office holders are expected to meet standards of professional conduct and integrity as described in the APS Ethics Guidelines. Violations of these standards may disqualify people from consideration or lead to revocation of honors or removal from office.