All USA USA Territories: American Samoa (USA); Guam (USA); Puerto Rico (USA); Virgin Islands (USA); Northern Mariana Islands (USA); USA Compact Free Associations:The Federated States of Micronesia (USA) Marshall Islands (USA) Republic of Palau (USA) International, Israel and Canada.
Grants of up to $80,000 to USA, Canada, and International faculty members at IHEs and other research facilities for exploratory research to improve the understanding, treatment, and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders. Consideration will be given to proposals 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. SFARI 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.
Objective of the SFARI Explorer Awards:
This award program is designed to enhance existing support of autism research by providing timely resources to enable high-risk/high-impact, exploratory experiments relevant to SFARI’s mission. A deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying autism spectrum disorders or potential therapeutic approaches will require investigation at multiple levels, including but not limited to studies focused on gene discovery, molecular mechanisms, circuits, anatomy, and cognition and behavior. SFARI will consider proposals at all of these levels.
Explorer Awards are intended to provide resources to support 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 prioritized. SFARI especially encourages 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.
Receiving support for an exploratory grant does not guarantee future support from the Simons Foundation.
Applicants are strongly advised to familiarize themselves with the research projects that SFARI currently supports and to think about how their proposals might complement existing grants. Considering SFARI’s significant efforts targeted at understanding the genetics of ASD, SFARI encourages applications that propose research to link genetic or other ASD risk factors to molecular, cellular, circuit or behavioral mechanisms of ASD. See also the SFARI blog post “SFARI’s 2018 funding priorities,” where the criteria for successful proposals is discussed.
Applicants are encouraged to use existing resources developed by SFARI. A number of mouse models of high-risk autism genes and copy number variants (CNVs) are available to the research community at minimal cost via a collaboration between SFARI and The Jackson Laboratory. Analogous to the mouse model efforts, SFARI is also generating and distributing genetic rat models through a collaboration with the Medical College of Wisconsin. Access to the Simons Simplex Collection (SSC), Simons Variation in Individuals Project (Simons VIP) and SPARK cohort — resources for phenotypic data, genetic data, biospecimens and recontacting participants — will be given to all approved scientists through SFARI Base. SFARI encourages applicants to use these resources. Further information about data requests and the acquisition of biospecimens is available online. SFARI expects Simons Investigators to share renewable reagents and data developed with SFARI funds with other qualified investigators.
There is no salary cap for principal investigators (PIs) or other faculty on a Simons Foundation grant; however, the compensation is prorated according to the individual’s percent effort on the grant. There is no minimum percent effort required for PIs or other personnel on any SFARI award type, but it is expected that the PI will commit sufficient effort to this project to provide a leading intellectual and guiding role on the project. Additionally, the PI will be expected to join the collaborative community of SFARI Investigators through participation in conferences, workshops and symposia organized by the foundation. PIs committing less than 15 percent effort to their project should justify their effort level in detail.
SFARI funds may be used only for personnel considered employees of the grantee institution who are eligible for benefits.
Others (see text field entitled "Additional Eligibility Criteria" for clarification)
Additional Eligibility Criteria
All applicants and key collaborators must hold a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent degree and have a faculty position or the equivalent at a college, university, medical school or other research facility. In addition, eligible applicants must have independent lab space at their institution.
Applications may be submitted by domestic and foreign nonprofit organizations; public and private institutions, such as colleges, universities, hospitals, laboratories, units of state and local government; and eligible agencies of the federal government.
There are no citizenship or country requirements.
Funds may not be used for stipend or benefit supplementation unless specifically authorized under the terms of the program from which funds are derived.
The Explorer Award program is ending soon (the last receipt of applications will be June 15, 2018).