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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
Targeted
Innate Immune System Impact Award (closed) | FAQ Not Applicable 3 No 3 March 2014
Rolling
Explorer Award | FAQ $60,000 1 No Rolling
Annual
Pilot Award | FAQ $125,000 2 Yes Letter of intent: 11 October 2013
Full proposal: 14 February 2014
Research Award | FAQ $250,000 3 Yes Letter of intent: 11 October 2013
Full proposal: 14 February 2014


SFARI Request for Applications (RFA)


TARGETED

Innate Immune System Impact Award

Grants awarded through this Request for Applications (RFA) are intended to advance our understanding of the impact of activation of the innate immune system on behavioral, circuit, synaptic and neuronal functions in order to understand the consequences of infection and immune activation on autism-related behaviors.

To this end, we seek applications for investigations of the impact of physiologically relevant activation of the innate immune system on behavioral, circuit, synaptic and neuronal functions in animal models of autism. SFARI especially encourages applications that address either of the following two issues:

(1) Effects of activation of the maternal innate immune system on embryonic central nervous system development in genetic models of autism and controls. How do fetal genetics and maternal innate immune activation interact to affect postnatal autism-related phenotypes, and what are the mechanisms through which they interact?

(2) Effects of activation of the innate immune system in genetic autism models and adult controls. How does innate immune activation affect behavioral, circuit, synaptic and cellular function in these genetic models and in controls? What are the roles of cytokine signaling, fever, immune cell activation and other effectors on these functions?

The grant period is for three (3) years. Continued funding is possible, when justified by scientific progress. During this initial three-year period, SFARI plans to commit up to $1 million annually to support projects funded as a result of this RFA.

The deadline for full proposal submission is 3 March 2014, 5 pm EST.

To view the RFA for this award type click here.

ROLLING

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.

To view the RFA for this award type click here.

ANNUAL

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.

To view the RFA for this award type click here.

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.

To view the RFA for this award type click here.

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Funding decisions

John Spiro, SFARI’s deputy scientific director, outlines how the organization decides which grants to fund. Read »