Funding Opportunities

SFARI offers grant programs to support bold, imaginative and rigorous research, relevant to the SFARI mission. Our standing Request for Application (RFA) programs include Research and Pilot Awards, as well as Bridge to Independence Awards. We also feature Targeted RFAs on an ad-hoc basis.

Please read our blog post for more information.

2020 RFA Calendar

2020 Research Award RFA
Opened: November 11, 2019
Application deadline: January 10, 2020

2020 Bridge to Independence Award RFA
Opens: December 2019
Application deadline: early March 2020

Summer 2020 Pilot Award RFA
Opens: late February 2020
Application deadline: April 24, 2020

Current RFAs

Award Type
Deadline
Budget and Duration
Description

2020 Research Award – Request for Applications

Annual

Grants awarded through this RFA are intended to provide support for the investigation of key unresolved research questions in autism, particularly those that connect etiology 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 on the proposed topic.

The maximum budget is $1,300,000, including indirect costs, over a period of up to four years.

Past RFAs

Award Type
Status
Past Awards
Description

Winter 2020 Pilot Award – Request for Applications

Biannual

Grants awarded through this RFA are intended to provide early support for exploratory ideas, particularly those with novel hypotheses for autism. Appropriate projects for this mechanism include those considered higher risk with less assurance of ultimate impact, but with the potential for transformative results.

Investigators new to the field of autism are encouraged to apply for these awards. The total budget of a Pilot Award is $300,000 or less, including 20 percent indirect costs, over a period of up to two (2) years.

Bridge to Independence Award Program

Annual

SFARI is invested in supporting the next generation of top autism researchers. The Bridge to Independence Award program promotes talented early-career scientists by facilitating their transition to research independence and providing grant funding at the start of their professorships at a U.S. or Canadian research institution.

Annual Request for applications (RFA) open each spring and are aimed at senior postdoctoral fellows who intend to seek tenure-track faculty positions during the upcoming academic year. Awardees will receive a commitment of $495,000 over three years, activated upon assumption of a tenure-track professorship.

2019 Novel Outcome Measures in ASD Request for Applications

Targeted

Grants awarded through this request for applications are intended to develop and validate outcome measures that are suitable for use in intervention studies that target the core symptoms of autism spectrum disorder. Such measures should provide objective data with strong psychometric properties, be scalable for use in large, multisite studies, not be unduly burdensome to participants and families, and have evident clinical relevance. They would ideally capture naturalistic rather than laboratory behavior and be applicable to subjects across a wide range of ages and levels of functioning.

We expect to fund several awards through this mechanism. The maximum budget is $300,000 per year, including indirect costs, for up to three years. Higher budgets will be considered, but such budgets must be strongly justified.

2019 SPARK Clinical Site Network Request for Applications

Targeted

SPARK is a SFARI initiative intended to recruit, engage and retain a community of 50,000 individuals with autism, and their family members, in the United States. This research cohort includes children and adults who span the full autism spectrum and individuals of all socio-demographic backgrounds.

Through this RFA, SFARI will add additional clinical sites to its existing clinical site network for the purposes of recruiting SPARK participants. Selected clinical sites will receive funding of up to $200,000/year, including indirect costs, for a maximum of three years.

Genomic Analysis for Autism Risk Variants in SPARK – Request for Applications

Targeted

Grants awarded through this RFA are intended to advance our understanding of the genetic basis of autism. Investigators who are interested in analyzing genomic data in innovative ways from thousands of SPARK families are encouraged to apply.

Available data will include whole-exome and genome-wide genotyping data from approximately 4,500 individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their biological parents. Approximately half of these families will also have genomic data from an unaffected sibling. In addition, whole-genome sequencing data will be available from approximately 400 other ASD individuals, plus their biological parents and unaffected siblings. A limited phenotypic dataset for all participants will be available.

We expect to fund several awards in the range of $100,000 (direct costs) for 18 months. Higher budgets will be considered, but we expect such budgets to be strongly justified.

‌Explorer Awards RFA

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 $80,000, including indirect costs, for one (1) year, non-renewable.

** Note: The Explorer Award program has ended (the last receipt of applications was June 15, 2018). Please read our blog post for more information.

Whole-Genome Analysis for Autism Risk Variants Request for Applications

Targeted

Grants awarded through this RFA are intended to advance our understanding of the genetic basis of autism, and in particular, to begin to assess genetic variants conferring risk in non-coding regions and in coding regions of the genome that may be less accessible to whole-exome sequencing. Investigators who are interested in developing innovative and efficient ways to analyze whole-genome sequencing data from 500 Simons Simplex Collection (SSC) families are encouraged to apply. The maximum budget is $250,000, including indirect costs, for eighteen months, non-renewable.

Functional Screen of Autism-Associated Variants Request for Applications

Targeted

Grants awarded through this RFA are intended to advance our understanding of the genetic basis of autism, and in particular the potential role of missense and in-frame deletion variants in conferring risk. Investigators who are interested in developing medium- or high-throughput screens to test the functional effects of missense and in-frame deletion variants identified in the Simons Simplex Collection (SSC) and other autism collections are encouraged to apply.

Innate Immune System Impact Request for Applications

Targeted

Grants awarded through this 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. Experiments should include physiologically relevant activation/inhibition of the innate immune system in animal models of autism and should focus on neuronal, synaptic and circuit function.

Circuit Dynamics Request for Applications

Targeted

Grants awarded through this RFA are intended to advance our understanding of the circuit basis for behavioral and cognitive alterations relevant to autism spectrum disorders. The goal is to determine the downstream consequences of autism-associated genetic perturbations on neural circuitry, with an emphasis on how collections of neurons operate in concert during autism-relevant behaviors. Experiments should include investigations of neural circuits in awake, behaving rodent models of autism. It is anticipated that SFARI will work closely with awarded investigative teams on all major aspects of the project, including selection of rodent models, data coordination and dissemination.

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