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.

The 2021 Innovation Fund cycle will open on March 8, 2021.

Questions? Email Kathryne or Tessa at 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.


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


March 8, 2021: The Innovation Fund RFP opens to all APS members

April 22, 2021: Deadline for initial 2-page preliminary proposals

May 21, 2021: Finalists are invited to submit a full proposal

July 1, 2021: Deadline for finalists to submit full proposals

August 9, 2021: Questions from the Innovation Fund Committee are sent to finalists to clarify and/or strengthen their full proposals

August 16, 2021: Deadline for finalists’ responses to the Innovation Fund Committee’s questions

September 2021: Grant recipients are notified

Review Process

  1. The APS-appointed Innovation Fund Committee will review preliminary proposals based upon Selection Criteria and make decisions on which ones to invite to submit full proposals.
  2. Unit/Committee representatives and APS staff will have the opportunity to collaborate with finalists and/or provide feedback to help prospective Principal Investigator(s) consider how best to structure activities for maximum impact and alignment with the APS Strategic Plan.
  3. The Innovation Fund Committee will review full proposals and may request that Principal Investigator(s) provide written responses to a short list of any remaining questions to help guide final decision making.
  4. The IF Program Officer will work with the Principal Investigator(s) to resolve any scope or budgetary concerns on proposals forwarded to the APS Board.
  5. The APS Board will make funding decisions based upon recommendations made by the Innovation Fund Committee.

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

Kathryne Woodle

Kathryne Sparks Woodle
Innovation Fund Program Officer

Tessa Lewis

Tessa Lewis
Innovation Fund Project Coordinator

Nominees for and holders of APS Honors (prizes, awards, and fellowship) and official leadership positions 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.