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Research Award

Grants to USA, Canada, and International Faculty at IHEs
and Research Facilities to Research Autism Spectrum Disorders

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI)

Deadline Date:

01/10/20 5:00 PM EST


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Grants to USA, Canada, and International faculty at IHEs or research facilities for autism research. Funding is intended to support rigorous research to improve treatment, diagnosis, and understanding of autism spectrum disorders. The goal of the grant is the investigation of key unresolved research questions in autism, particularly those that connect genetic etiologies to brain function and behavior.

SFARI welcomes risk and novelty in Research Award proposals, but potential impact on the autism research field will be the most important criterion. Competitive applications will have preliminary data or other relevant groundwork that justifies substantial investment in the proposed topic.

While SFARI remains open to persuasive arguments for the relevance of any particular project, Research Awards should be aligned with SFARI’s scientific perspectives. Below are a few examples of types of research questions that address SFARI’s overarching goals:

  • Biological convergence: Given the ever-growing list of genetic risk factors for ASD, it will be important to explore whether biological convergence occurs at the molecular, cellular, circuit or behavioral levels. When convergence is observed, how does it relate to other levels of biological complexity and inform potential opportunities for intervention?
  • Developmental trajectories: How do risk factors for ASD affect biological systems across different stages of development? What are the critical time points, and do they differ by biological mechanism or genetic etiology? How does this inform efforts to develop interventions?
  • Major hypotheses: A number of intriguing hypotheses merit rigorous testing of their validity and generalizability, in addition to suitability for therapeutic follow-up. Examples include excitatory-inhibitory neural imbalance1; etiological roles for sensory dysfunction in the development of social phenotypes in autism2-4, and causative roles of certain cell types or brain areas, such as glutamatergic cortical neurons4-12; or the striatum12-14.

The above-mentioned topics are neither exhaustive nor exclusionary but are illustrative of key research issues in autism that may be appropriate for investigation through a Research Award.

For additional information, please review SFARI’s recent changes in grant award mechanisms. Applicants are strongly advised to familiarize themselves with SFARI’s currently funded projects and resources in order to think about how a proposal might complement ongoing efforts.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 151151

Estimated Size of Grant:

- The maximum budget of a Research Award is $1,300,000, including 20 percent indirect costs.
- Investigators are encouraged to take advantage of the flexibility in budget and duration to tailor the scope of the award as appropriate for their specific aims.

Term of Contract:

Term of contract is a period of up to four years. For projects that propose four years of research, progress will be critically evaluated at the end of year two before support for the remaining two years will be approved.

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, and units of state and local government; and eligible agencies of the federal government. There are no citizenship or country requirements.

Current recipients of SFARI Research Awards may apply for new funding, but please note that the Foundation generally prioritizes new grant applications and provides only limited renewal funding, especially for projects considered to be appropriate for National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 award funding. To be considered competitive for a SFARI renewal, projects should demonstrate substantial progress on the original award; focus on a topic of continued high importance for SFARI; and be deemed unlikely to obtain funding from the NIH or other organizations.

For international grants, the Simons Foundation requires that an organization be the equivalent of a U.S. public charity before awarding the grant. If an organization has a determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the U.S. stating exemption under 501(c)(3) and furthermore, either a 509(a)(1), (2) or (3) classification, this letter must be included in the grant application. If an international institution does not have the aforementioned documentation, the Simons Foundation will require that the institution complete an equivalency determination if an award is recommended for funding. All costs associated with the determination will be paid for by the Simons Foundation.

Pre-Application Information:

The submission deadline is Friday, January 10, 2020, 5:00 PM Eastern Time.

Important Dates:
- Application Available: November 11, 2019
- Application Deadline: January 10, 2020
- Award Notification: April 30, 2020
- Funding Start Dates: June 1, 2020; July 1, 2020; or August 1, 2020

Applications must be completed electronically and submitted using forms provided at proposalCENTRAL. For information about registering and logging in to proposalCENTRAL, see:

For frequently asked questions, see:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

To access pC, go to

- Administrative inquiries:

- Scientific inquiries:

- proposalCENTRAL:

- Simons Collections:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

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International country outside of the USA, Israel and Canada.

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