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 2020 Innovation Fund cycle has closed. Click here to read about the special IF-COVID19 recipients.

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 9, 2020: Deadline for initial 1-page preliminary proposals

March 13-27, 2020: Unit/Committee representatives provide feedback on pre-proposals

March 31-April 13, 2020: Proposals reviewed by the Innovation Fund Steering Committee

April 30, 2020: Finalists are notified and the IF2020 cycle paused due to COVID-19 cycle

July 1, 2020: IF2020 cycle re-opened

August 19, 2020: Deadline for finalists to submit full proposals

Fall 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

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

Kathryne Woodle

Kathryne Sparks Woodle
Innovation Fund Program Officer

Tessa Lewis

Tessa Lewis
Innovation Fund Project Coordinator

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.