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Grant opportunities

The Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) is a research campaign to improve the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders by funding, catalyzing and driving innovative research of the greatest quality and relevance. Although SFARI's priority is to benefit individuals challenged by autism spectrum disorders, its efforts are certain to yield insights into the neural mechanisms of fundamental human capabilities, thereby promoting the broader mission of the Simons Foundation to advance the frontiers of research in the basic sciences and mathematics.

We solicit applications for SFARI Awards from individuals who will conduct bold, imaginative, rigorous and relevant research in three main research areas: cognition and behavior, gene discovery and molecular mechanisms.

The Simons Foundation does not give grants to individuals, except through their institutions.

The Simons Foundation will not respond to unsolicited requests for funding.

Award type Maximum annual budget, including indirect costs Maximum number of funding years Letter of intent required? Deadline
No opportunities at this time Not applicable Not applicable Not applicable Not applicable
Explorer Award | FAQ $60,000 1 No Rolling
Pilot Award | FAQ $125,000 2 Yes To be announced 2 September.
Research Award | FAQ $250,000 3 Yes To be announced 2 September.

SFARI Request for Applications (RFA)


No opportunities at this time.


SFARI Explorer Award

Application type for proposals requesting support of exploratory experiments that will strengthen hypotheses and lead to the formulation of competitive applications for subsequent larger-scale funding by SFARI or other organizations. Innovative, high-risk/high-impact proposals are encouraged. We especially encourage applications from investigators who are new to the field of autism, but who have expertise that could be brought to bear on this complex disorder. The maximum budget is $60,000, including indirect costs, for one (1) year, non-renewable. Applications are accepted year-round and decisions about funding are made within about a month by SFARI science staff.


SFARI Pilot Award

Application type for innovative, high-impact proposals requesting support for small-scale projects or early-stage experiments that will build on preliminary data or a prior track record and lead to competitive applications for funding by SFARI or other organizations. Investigators new to the field of autism are encouraged to apply for Pilot Awards. The maximum budget is $125,000, including indirect costs, per year for up to two (2) years. Please note that SSC biospecimen costs are not included in the maximum budget.

SFARI Research Award

Application type for investigators with demonstrated expertise, for proposals requesting support for compelling, high-impact research on an experimental hypothesis for which, in most cases, preliminary data have already been gathered. The foundation will also consider projects focusing on a central hypothesis where success depends on close collaboration between two or more labs. We expect to fund proposals for a maximum of $250,000, including indirect costs, per year for up to three (3) years, but under exceptional circumstances will consider proposals at higher levels. We realize that clinical studies can be costly and will consider clinical and translational proposals with budgets up to $350,000 per year if justified in the budget. (This grant mechanism is not intended to support large, randomized clinical trials of medications.) We strongly encourage PIs considering such proposals to discuss their proposal and budget with SFARI science staff before submission (scienceRFA@simonsfoundation.org). Proposals with unusually high budgets are subject to heightened scrutiny. Please note that SSC biospecimen costs are not included in the maximum budget.

Funding priorities

On 2 September, SFARI plans to announce a new request for applications. Deputy Scientific Director John Spiro describes the decision process for research proposals.
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