The latest AMS notices has the news that the Simons Foundation is now spending about $40 million/year in mathematics and related theoretical fields. This is being done under a program being run by David Eisenbud at Berkeley, and the first initiative has been the funding of new postdoctoral fellowships (there’s an earlier posting about this here). How the rest of the money will be spent remains undecided, with a request going out for suggestions.
This fall the program will fund 15 mathematics and 10 theoretical physics 3-year postdocs, as well as 9 2-year postdocs in computer science. A similar number of new positions will be funded next year. The postdocs will pay very well, at 70K/year for the mathematics ones, 65K/year for those in physics and “gauged to attract the highest caliber of applicants” for computer science.
The departments chosen for the postdocs have not been officially announced, but a little googling turns up the following ones that have job ads specifically mentioning the Simons fellowship.:
Mathematics: Berkeley, Cal Tech, Cambridge (UK), Columbia, Harvard, Michigan, MIT, Northwestern, Stanford, Texas (Austin), UCLA, Yale
Physics: Berkeley, Cal Tech, Chicago, MIT, NYU, Santa Barbara, Texas (Austin), Yale
Computer Science: Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, MIT, Princeton
The job market for the usual sort of teaching jobs at academic institutions has not been doing well recently, especially at US state universities facing budget problems. On the other hand, the job market for mathematics and theoretical physics, at least at the post-doctoral level, may do better than that in some other disciplines. We may be returning to an eighteenth-century model where this kind of research is supported not by public universities, but by the great private fortunes of the day, those being produced in dominant new industries such as finance (Simons) and telecommunications (Lazaridis).