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 Pilot Awards and Bridge to Independence Awards. We also feature ad-hoc targeted RFAs and SEED Awards on a rolling basis. SFARI also continues to be a key participant in the Shenoy Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Neuroscience (SURFiN).

Please read our blog post for more information about SFARI's 2024 funding initiatives.

Current & Upcoming RFAs

Award Type
Deadline
Budget and Duration
Description

Linking Early Neurodevelopment to Neural Circuit Outcomes RFA

The Linking Early Neurodevelopment to Neural Circuit Outcomes RFA aims to bridge the gap in our understanding of whether and how developmental phenotypes caused by autism risk gene mutation lead to altered circuit formation and function. We strongly encourage proposals involving close collaboration between investigators of diverse expertise, such as developmental neurobiologists and circuit neuroscientists, in order to convincingly demonstrate causal links between disparate phenotypes in the chosen model(s).

Applicants may request up to $300,000 per lab with a maximum total annual budget of $900,000, inclusive of 20 percent indirect costs, over a period of three (3) to four (4) years. To allow potential applicants sufficient time to identify appropriate collaborators and conceptualize their projects, we are publishing this RFA call now; we will begin accepting applications on June 11, 2024.

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Past RFAs

Award Type
Status
Past Awards
Description

2024 Pilot Award – Request for Applications

The goal of the Pilot Award is to provide early support for exploratory ideas considered higher risk but with the potential for transformative results, particularly those with novel hypotheses for autism. This funding mechanism is particularly suitable for investigators new to the autism field, though we encourage applicants to consult with experts in autism research to ensure their projects are relevant to the human condition. We encourage applications that propose research to link genetic or other ASD risk factors to molecular, cellular, circuit or behavioral mechanisms and set the stage for development of novel interventions, including work in human subjects.

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.

Projects proposing research in human subjects may request a budget up to $500,000, including 20 percent indirect costs, over a period of up to two (2) years.

2024 SFARI Pilot Progression Award — Request for Applications

The goal of the Pilot Progression Award is to provide continuing support for projects initiated during SFARI Pilot awards that have advanced significantly and produced insights that justify an extension.

Eligible applicants will be contacted with instructions for submission. Applications open on April 11, 2024.

Bridge to Independence Award Program

Annual

The SFARI Bridge to Independence (BTI) program engages talented early-career scientists from diverse and/or historically underrepresented backgrounds to pursue research in autism and facilitates their transition into independent faculty positions at research institutions within or outside the U.S.

The program is aimed at Ph.D. and/or M.D.-holding scientists from diverse and/or historically underrepresented groups in science who are currently in a non-independent, mentored training position at an institution within or outside the U.S. and who will be actively seeking and applying to tenure-track faculty positions between September 2024–May 2025. Independence Fellows are expected to apply, secure and transition to a tenure-track faculty position at a research institution within or outside the U.S. by the end of the 2025–2026 academic year. U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status is not required. The BTI Award program welcomes applications that span the breadth of science that SFARI supports, including genetics, molecular mechanisms, circuits and systems, and clinical science.

Independence Fellows will receive up to two (2) years of postdoctoral fellowship support during their job search, with an annual salary of $85,000 USD, fringe benefits, an annual resource and professional development allowance of $10,000 USD, and indirect costs (see our grant policies) followed by a commitment of $600,000 USD over three (3) years, including indirect costs (see our grant policies), activated upon assumption of a tenure-track research professorship. The fellows will form a learning community and engage in professional development activities throughout their transition to research independence.

2023 Cross-Species Studies of ASD — Request for Applications

Grants awarded through the Cross-Species Studies of ASD request for applications (RFA) are intended to support multi-disciplinary teams of PIs with expertise in both human and animal research to perform coordinated cross-species studies to advance our understanding of ASD-relevant behaviors and their underlying neurobiological mechanisms, with the potential for developing novel biomarkers or interventions.

Applicants may request a maximum of $400,000, inclusive of 20 percent indirect costs, for each year of funding over a period of two (2) to three (3) years. To allow potential applicants ample time to identify appropriate collaborators and conceptualize their projects, we are publishing this RFA call now; we will begin accepting applications on April 5, 2023.

Colourful overlapping silhouettes of head profiles.

Shenoy Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Neuroscience (SURFiN)

Annual

The goal of the Simons Foundation’s Shenoy Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Neuroscience (SURFiN) program is to spark and sustain interest in neuroscience among undergraduate students from diverse and/or historically underrepresented backgrounds in science. SURFiN provides funds for paid research assistantships for undergraduate students living near participating laboratories in the U.S., Canada, and Europe that are supported by the Simons Foundation’s Autism and Neuroscience division.

2023 Human Cognitive and Behavioral Science – Request for Applications

Annual

The Human Cognitive and Behavioral Science RFA prioritizes research that produces foundational knowledge about the neurobehavioral differences associated with ASD. These projects are expected to inform or relate to the development and refinement of tools needed for translational efforts, such as biomarkers and outcome measures. Special emphasis is placed on objective, quantitative measures that may be used in conjunction with standardized clinical measures and genomic information to better characterize phenotypic and neurobiological variability within and across individuals with ASD.

Three tracks are offered within this RFA solicitation: Explorer, Expansion and Collaboration. The Explorer track is appropriate for early-stage projects in which establishing feasibility and proof-of-concept are the most relevant outcomes of the grant period. The total budget is $500,000 or less, inclusive of 20 percent indirect costs, over a period of up to two (2) years. The Expansion track is appropriate for more mature projects with evidence of feasibility and preliminary validity, for which goals such as scalability, generalizability and/or more comprehensive measure validation are now the most relevant translational outcomes. The total budget is $900,000 or less, inclusive of 20 percent indirect costs, over a period of up to three (3) years. The Collaboration track is appropriate for multi-lab, cross-institutional collaborative projects. The total budget is up to $750,000 per lab, for up to four (4) labs, over a period of up to three (3) years. Collaborative proposals should be built around transdisciplinary teams tackling a critical issue in the neurobehavioral differences of autism, with clear translational implications. Collaborations among different institutions are strongly encouraged. SFARI will consider funding a limited number of Collaboration proposals. As such, the proposal must provide a strong rationale for how synergies across multiple disciplines will be leveraged.

Genomics of ASD: Pathways to Biological Convergence and Genetic Therapies – Request for Applications

Grants awarded through this request for applications (RFA) are intended to improve our understanding of the molecular and cellular consequences of genetic risk for ASD, and to provide a foundation for the development of new therapies. Special emphasis is placed on the use of scalable methods, especially as applied to genes that are suitable targets for genetic therapies.

There are three budget tracks, depending on the scope of the project: an Explorer track of up to $400,000 over a period of up to two (2) years; an Expansion track of up to $1,500,000 over a period of up to three (3) years; and a Collaboration track of up to $750,000 per lab over a period of up to three (3) years. All budget figures are inclusive of 20 percent indirect costs.

SPARK Research Match Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity – Request for applications

The SPARK Research Match Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity RFA aims to address historic disparities in research participation by Black or African American individuals by soliciting studies on autism that recruit Black or African American participants. Funding will provide per-person participant incentive (e-gift cards) for participation in projects that utilize SPARK Research Match to recruit participants into new research studies.

The maximum budget is $20,000 in per-person incentive funding per study.

SFARI Supplement to Enhance Equity and Diversity (SEED) — Request for Applications

The SFARI Supplement to Enhance Equity and Diversity (SEED) was a program that provided supplements to existing grants for the recruitment of new lab members from American underrepresented minority groups at the postdoctoral level. The goal of the award was to increase diversity and fight inequity. For the purposes of the supplement, eligible groups included the following: African American/Black; Latin American/Hispanic; Native American/Alaskan Native; Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander (including Filipino).

Cerebellum from a brain. Multiphoton fluorescence micrograph (MFM) of a section through the cerebellum from a human brain, showing the inner white matter (purple) and outer grey matter (green). The white matter mainly contains axons, which pass nerve impulses to the brain's outer cortex. The grey matter is made up of two layers of neurons (nerve cells), the molecular layer and the granular layer. Here, glial cells in the grey matter are stained green and cell nuclei in the white matter are stained purple. The cerebellum controls sensory perception, motor control and coordination. Magnification: x100 when printed at 10 centimetres across.

Analysis of postmortem brain tissue from the Autism BrainNet collection — Request for applications

Grants awarded through this request for applications are intended to advance the understanding of autism spectrum disorder through analyses of human postmortem brain tissue donated to the Autism BrainNet collection.
 
The annual budget is between $300,000 and $1,000,000, inclusive of 20 percent indirect costs, for a period of two (2) years.
 
We encourage proposals from multiple investigators only when such collaborations are well justified by the expected benefits to the proposal. For collaborative proposals, the annual budget can exceed the project cap stated above but should not exceed a total of $2,000,000 inclusive of 20 percent indirect costs.

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