SFARI’s mission is to improve the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders by funding innovative research of the highest quality and relevance. Launched in 2003, SFARI is a scientific initiative within the Simons Foundation's suite of programs and is its only program focusing on the science underlying a medical condition.
In 2007, SFARI issued its first request for applications, its goal being to attract top researchers to the field of autism research. Today, with a budget of approximately $65 million per year, SFARI supports 175 investigators and since its launch has provided or committed more than $362 million in external research support to more than 250 investigators in the U.S. and abroad.
SFARI now offers annual Research Awards and Pilot Awards, as well as Explorer Awards, awarded on a rolling basis, all of which solicit applications for projects across all areas of autism science. From time to time, SFARI also offers targeted requests for applications, seeking to fund projects in a tightly defined area.
Additionally, to facilitate and drive research in the field as a whole, SFARI has created and supports several resources for autism scientists:
SFARI.org, SFARI’s online hub and a venue for editorially independent news and opinion on autism research;
Simons Simplex Collection (SSC), which contains extensive genetic and phenotypic data from nearly 3,000 families with a child affected by autism;
SFARI Gene, an online autism genetics database;
SFARI Base, which provides access to SSC data and data from the Simons Variation in Individuals Project, a project exploring the phenotypes of individuals carrying highly penetrant recurrent genomic events identified in the SSC, such as deletions and duplications of chromosomal region 16p11.2.
Autism BrainNet, launched in 2014 in collaboration with the science and advocacy organization Autism Speaks and the Autism Science Foundation, which aims to provide scientists with well-characterized, high-quality brain tissue for study; and
Mouse models of autism are available to the scientific community through a partnership with The Jackson Laboratory.