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Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative

The mission of the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) is to understand the causes of autism and thereby improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of this and related developmental disorders. To this end, we solicit applications for SFARI Awards from individuals who will conduct bold, imaginative, rigorous research relevant to this spectrum of prevalent disorders.

Deadlines and Notification Schedule
    * January 6, 2010 – Letter of Intent due
    * February 17, 2010 – Notification of Approval of Letters of Intent
    * March 23, 2010 – Full Proposal due
    * June 15, 2010 – Notification of Grant Awards
    * July 1, 2010 – Grant Award Funding begins

Objective of the SFARI Awards

A deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying Autism Spectrum Disorders will require approaches at multiple levels of analysis, including but not limited to studies focused on gene discovery, molecular mechanisms, and cognition and behavior. We will consider proposals at all of these levels.

We seek applications from independent investigators who can devote a substantial portion of time to this effort (a minimum of 15%). We will also accept collaborative grants involving multiple investigators.

Collaboration among Simons Investigators is encouraged. Applicants are strongly advised to familiarize themselves with the work currently supported by SFARI and to think how their proposals might complement existing grants. We also encourage researchers to apply who may not currently be working on autism, but who have skills that could be brought to bear on this complex research agenda.

Access to the Simons Simplex Collection, a resource of rigorously characterized phenotypic data and biomaterials, will be available to all scientists. Please be advised that the policies regarding distribution of SSC biospecimens have been modified from previous RFAs. In the same spirit, we will expect Simons Investigators to share reagents and data developed with Simons Foundation funds.

Types of Applications

Investigators may submit three types of applications:

SFARI Pilot Awards:
Junior and senior investigators who are new to the field of autism should consider applying for a pilot grant to support activities that will lead to the formulation of competitive grant applications. SFARI Pilot Awards provide support for two years.  Receiving support for a pilot grant does not guarantee support for future grants from the Simons Foundation.

SFARI Individual Awards: SFARI Individual Awards provide resources to work on an experimental hypothesis for which enough preliminary data has already been gathered. SFARI Individual Awards provide support for three years.

SFARI Project Awards: SFARI Project Awards provide resources for multiple labs to work on an experimental hypothesis for which enough preliminary data has already been gathered and the expertise of the collaborators in the field has already been proven. These awards are appropriate for projects focused on a central hypothesis where success depends on close collaboration between two or more labs. SFARI Project Awards provide support for three years.

The Simons Foundation will support applications for a maximum total cost of:

    * $150,000/year for up to 2 years, for SFARI Pilot Awards
    * $400,000/year for up to 3 years, for SFARI Individual Awards
    * $1,000,000/year for up to 3 years, for SFARI Project Awards
    * 20% for indirect costs is included in the total award amount per year

The Simons Foundation’s salary support guidelines are identical to those set by the National Institutes of Health for faculty, trainees, and students. The Simons Foundation reserves the right to modify budgets when an application has been selected for an award (see Simons Foundation Policy).


All applicants and key collaborators must hold a PhD, MD, or equivalent degree and have a faculty position or equivalent at a college, university, medical school, or other research facility. 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. For-profit organizations will not be considered. There are no citizenship or country requirements.

For further information please click here.

Posted on 03/12/2009

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