2021 Human Cognitive and Behavioral Science – Request for Applications

Grants awarded through this RFA are intended to produce foundational knowledge about the neurobehavioral differences associated with ASD, which will directly inform the development or 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 triangulate phenotypic and neurobiological variability within and across individuals with ASD.

The maximum budget is $750,000 or less, inclusive of 20 percent indirect costs, over a period of up to three years.

Maximum Budget

Over a period of up to three years Maximum of $750,000

Important Dates
  • Application Available
  • Informational Zoom Meeting
  • Application Deadline
  • Award Notification
    August 2021
  • Award Start Dates
    September 1, 2021
    October 1, 2021
    November 1, 2021

Maximum Budget

Over a period of up to three years Maximum of $750,000

Important Dates
  • Application Available
  • Informational Zoom Meeting
  • Application Deadline
  • Award Notification
    August 2021
  • Award Start Dates
    September 1, 2021
    October 1, 2021
    November 1, 2021

Contact Info
Read More
Maximum Budget

Over a period of up to three years Maximum of $750,000

Important Dates
  • Application Available
  • Informational Zoom Meeting
  • Application Deadline
  • Award Notification
    August 2021
  • Award Start Dates
    September 1, 2021
    October 1, 2021
    November 1, 2021

Contact Info

SFARI Mission

The mission of the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) is to improve the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) by funding innovative research of the highest quality and relevance.

Background and Objective

A thorough understanding of the human condition is bedrock to scientific research that aims to improve the lives of affected individuals. To this end, the scientific community has made tremendous advances in deciphering the genetic architecture of ASD, which includes genomic analyses of SFARI-funded cohorts, such as SPARK, Simons Searchlight and the Simons Simplex Collection.

To better understand the cognitive and behavioral foundations of ASD, SFARI is now launching a new, annual, investigator-initiated request for applications (RFA) that is specifically dedicated to clinically relevant research of ASD. SFARI will use this grant mechanism to more explicitly outline our scientific priorities, and tailor grant budgets and review processes to support the unique opportunities and challenges inherent to studies that directly involve individuals with ASD. The goal of this grant mechanism is to improve the quality and number of investigator-initiated human cognitive and behavioral projects, and to better align this research with other ongoing SFARI efforts.

Scientific Priorities and Scope

The Human Cognitive and Behavioral Science RFA prioritizes research that produces foundational knowledge about the neurobehavioral differences associated with ASD, which will directly inform the development or 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 triangulate phenotypic and neurobiological variability within and across individuals with ASD.

In particular, we encourage studies which capitalize on approaches to behavioral analysis that are informed by recent advances in computer vision and machine learning, as well as psychophysics and non-invasive neuroscience techniques (e.g., EEG and MRI). SFARI has a strong interest in developmentally focused studies in areas that include, but are not limited to, communicative, social and ritualistic/stereotyped behavior, as well as sensory and motor function. SFARI also recognizes the importance of domains of function, such as attention, learning and memory, and sleep, in influencing core ASD diagnostic domains. Applications may propose either laboratory-based or real-world measures of behavior (i.e., wearables/”digital phenotyping”).

We encourage proposals conceptualized within rigorously defined theoretical/computational or neurobiologically-grounded frameworks. Importantly, proposals addressing current theories of autism should include experiments to directly examine falsifiable hypotheses. We also welcome studies which deepen our understanding of cognitive constructs that are often modeled in experimental animals. These may include, but are not limited to, learning and memory, attention, repetitive behaviors, stereotypy, sensory processing and motor function. For applications that wish to conduct parallel studies in both humans and in experimental models (e.g., mouse models, induced pluripotent stem cells), please contact scienceRFA@simonsfoundation.org for further guidance from the SFARI science team.

SFARI considers the following as out-of-scope for this RFA: studies with a primary focus on developing new clinical rating scales of survey-based assessments or online adaptations of traditional paper and pencil tests, such as cognitive (IQ) or social-cognitive tests. In addition, we discourage applications with a primary focus on psychosocial factors, or those proposing interventional clinical trials or medical treatments.

Participant Recruitment and Sample Sizes

Given the heterogeneity and multifactorial causes of ASD, SFARI places a premium on the use of well-characterized and sufficiently powered cohorts. SFARI is particularly interested in research study designs that stratify participants by genetic etiologies or other biologically meaningful criteria.

To facilitate recruitment of well-characterized ASD cohorts, SFARI has developed Research Match, a robust in-house program to help investigators recruit participants from Simons collections, including SPARK and Simons Searchlight. RFA applicants are strongly encouraged, but not required, to use Research Match as part of their participation recruitment strategy.

Through this grant mechanism, SFARI expects to support projects of varying scales, from small, proof-of-principle studies to larger studies that examine additional ASD-relevant parameters or subpopulations. However, when possible, we encourage iterative study designs that move quickly from pilot studies to more scalable approaches, which will lead to more generalizable findings.

Level and Duration of Funding

The total budget is $750,000 or less, inclusive of 20 percent indirect costs, over a period of up to three (3) years. For projects that propose 2–3 years of research, progress will be critically evaluated at the end of each annual funding period before support for the upcoming year will be approved. Allowable indirect costs to the primary institution for subcontracts are not included in the $750,000 total budget threshold (see grant policies).

We strongly encourage investigators to tailor their requested budgets and duration to levels appropriate for the scope of their specific aims. As with all SFARI-funded projects, it is at the foundation’s discretion to modify final budgets as needed. It is to the investigator’s advantage to include realistic budget estimations in their initial grant application.

Eligibility

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.

Principal investigators (PIs) who do not have substantial ASD clinical expertise should include a close collaborator with such expertise on their grant application (e.g., multi-PI application).

SFARI recognizes the importance of diverse viewpoints for scientific advancement. As such, SFARI strongly encourages the inclusion of researchers who span institutions, career stages and groups historically underrepresented in science.

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.

Instructions for Submission

Applications must be completed electronically and submitted using forms provided at proposalCENTRAL. Please log in as an applicant, go to the grant opportunities tab, scroll to “Simons Foundation,” and click “Apply Now” for the SFARI – Human Cognitive and Behavioral Science program. For assistance, please call 800-875-2562 or email pcsupport@altum.com.

Details concerning application requirements and submission can be found in our instructions or on proposalCENTRAL. If you have other questions, please review our FAQs.

Informational Sessions for Potential Applicants

To answer questions about this RFA, SFARI held an informational Zoom meeting on Wednesday March 24, 12-12:45 p.m. ET. The presentation slides can be found here. A summary of the questions asked and answers provided by SFARI staff can be found here.

Contacts

Scientific inquiries:
sciencerfa@simonsfoundation.org
646-654-0066

Administrative inquiries:
sfgrants@simonsfoundation.org
646-654-0066

Simons collections inquiries:
collections@sfari.org
646-654-0066

proposalCENTRAL:
pcsupport@altum.com
800-875-2562

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proposalCENTRAL Logo

The Simons Foundation uses an electronic grants submission process. All interested grant applicants must submit their applications online through proposalCENTRAL.

Maximum Budget

Over a period of up to three years Maximum of $750,000

Important Dates
  • Application Available
  • Informational Zoom Meeting
  • Application Deadline
  • Award Notification
    August 2021
  • Award Start Dates
    September 1, 2021
    October 1, 2021
    November 1, 2021

Contact Info

The deadline for application submission is Monday, May 3, 2021, 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

proposalCENTRAL Login Information
Applications must be submitted via proposalCENTRAL (pC). To start an application in pC, users must first log in to their pC account.

If You Need to Create a New Account in pC:
To create a new account, go to proposalCENTRAL and click “Create An Account Now.” Fill in the required fields, check the boxes to agree to pC’s terms of service and acceptable use policy, and click “Save.”

If You Have an Existing Account in pC:
For all users with a pC account, log in under “Application Login” at proposalCENTRAL and select “Create New Proposal” or click on the “Grant Opportunities” tab. Scroll down to “Simons Foundation” and click “Apply Now” for the “Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative – Human Cognitive and Behavioral Science ” program to start the proposal and access the templates. After all sections are completed, you will be able to click on the “Submit” button to send.

To submit an application, you must complete the following proposalCENTRAL sections:

  1. Title Page: Please provide the following information:
    1. Project title
    2. Indicate use of Simons Collections patient recruitment (e.g., Research Match), biospecimens, or data.
  2. Download Templates and Instructions: All templates necessary to complete your proposal are available for download in this module (or the “Proposal Attachments” module, where attachments are submitted as PDF-only files; see the corresponding “Proposal Attachments” section below for more details).
    1. Human Cognitive and Behavioral Science RFA Announcement
    2. Human Cognitive and Behavioral Science RFA Application Instructions
    3. Human Cognitive and Behavioral Science RFA Specific Aims Page Template
    4. Human Cognitive and Behavioral Science RFA Proposal Narrative Template
    5. Biosketch Template
    6. Other Support Template
    7. Human Participants Study Information Sheet
    8. Human Cognitive and Behavioral Science RFA Proposal Narrative Template
    9. Budget Justification Template
    10. Resources and Research Environment Template
    11. Renewable Reagents and Data Sharing Plan Template
    12. Simons Foundation Policies and Procedures
    13. Detailed Budget Template for Subcontract (if applicable to project)
  3. Enable Other Users to Access This Proposal: This section allows you to give other users access to your grant application. You have the option of giving them one of three levels of permission: View, Edit or Administrator.
  4. Applicant/PI: The principal investigator (PI) should be listed here. For grants with multiple PIs, the contact PI should be listed here.
  5. Organization/Institution: Contact information for the signing official and the financial/fiscal officer from your institution is required; select the correct person or enter new names in this section.
  6. Key Personnel: Indicate key personnel, including but not limited to: PIs, co-investigators, consultants and postdoctoral research associates. In rare circumstances, the applicant organization may designate multiple PIs who share the authority and responsibility for leading the project, intellectually and logistically. For more information on the responsibilities of PIs, please refer to the FAQ section.
  7. Abstract: Enter your abstract as text in this section.
  8. Budget Period Detail: Enter your budget period detail in this section.
    1. Award start date: Proposals selected for funding will be announced in August 2021, and funding will begin on September 1, 2021; October 1, 2021; or November 1, 2021. Please note that grants may not activate without current ethical approval documentation for human participants and/or animal research, unless given prior approval by SFARI staff.
    2. Personnel: Please provide the name, role, appointment type, percent effort, institutional base salary, requested salary, fringe rate and requested fringe for all personnel.

      Other considerations: Please note that there is no salary cap for 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. 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. 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 Simons Foundation reserves the right to modify budgets when an application has been selected for an award (see Simons Foundation policies).

      1. Please do not use the field marked “For Internal Use Only-Estimated Cost for Simons Collections Biospecimens” below the “Indirect Costs” section in the “Budget Period Detail.”
      2. Investigators interested in recruiting human participants, including those from a Simons Collection, must complete and submit a Human Participants Study Information Sheet.
    3. Indirect costs (IDCs): Indirect costs to the primary institution are limited to 20 percent of direct costs with the following exceptions: equipment, tuition and any portion of each subcontract in excess of $25,000. The primary institution may take indirect costs on the first $25,000 modified total direct costs of each subcontract. Indirect costs paid to a subcontractor may not exceed 20 percent of the modified total direct costs paid to the subcontractor.
    4. Equipment: The Simons Foundation (SF) will own equipment purchased with foundation grant funds with a unit cost of $50,000 or more. At the end of the grant funding period or in the case of grant termination for any reason, the foundation reserves the right to retain ownership or cede ownership to the PI’s institution. Equipment with a unit cost of less than $50,000 shall be the property of the institution.
    5. Biospecimens: If the proposal includes the use of Simons Collection biospecimens (i.e., from the Simons Simplex Collection (SSC) or Simons Searchlight), the Simons Foundation will review the estimated cost based on the price list on SFARI.org. Biospecimen costs will be considered separately from other project costs. Enter the projected figure in the field marked “Simons Collections Biospecimens (No IDC)” in the “Budget Period Detail” section, under “Other Expenses.” A description of use, including the number and type of biospecimens, should be included in the proposal narrative and budget justification (see the “Proposal Attachments” section below). Biospecimen costs must be excluded from the IDC cost calculation.
    6. Budget: The total budget is $750,000 or less, inclusive of 20 percent indirect costs, over a period of up to three (3) years. For projects that propose 2–3 years of research, progress will be critically evaluated at the end of each annual funding period before support for the upcoming year will be approved.

      We strongly encourage investigators to tailor their requested budgets and duration to levels appropriate for the scope of their specific aims. As with all Simons Foundation funded projects, it is at the foundation’s discretion to modify final budgets as needed. As such, it is to the investigator’s advantage to include realistic budget estimations in their initial grant application.
    7. Multiple PIs: The applicant PI will be the designated contact PI for the project. The contact PI will be responsible for directing the project and will coordinate all administrative deliverables.

      Principal investigators (PIs) who do not have substantial ASD clinical expertise should include a close collaborator with such expertise on their grant application (e.g., multi-PI application).

      1. Applications with multiple PIs from different institutions who would like to be paid separately must upload in the “Proposal Attachments” section:
        1. Signed signature page for each PI (available for download in the “Proposal Attachments” and “Download Templates and Instructions” sections).
        2. Budget template for each non-applicant PI (available for download in the “Proposal Attachments” and “Download Templates and Instructions” sections).
        3. The direct and indirect costs for all non-applicant PIs. Direct costs must be included in the “Budget Period Detail” section in the “Consortium & Contractual Direct” section, and indirect costs should be included in the “Indirect Costs” section. Please add a separate line for direct costs and one for indirect costs for each non-applicant PI.

      Applications with multiple PIs from different institutions who will be paid directly by the contact PI’s institution are considered subcontracts. Please refer to the subcontract instructions in the “Subcontracts” section below.

      Applications with multiple PIs from the same institution do not need to submit additional materials. Additional non-applicant PIs should be listed as key personnel in both the “Key Personnel” and “Budget Period Detail” sections, and only one signature page is needed.

    8. Subcontracts: Applications with subcontracts (including PIs who will be paid directly by the contact PI’s institution) must submit:
      1. Subcontract detailed budget (available for download in the “Proposal Attachments” and “Download Templates and Instructions” sections) for each subcontract.
      2. Subcontract direct and indirect costs. Subcontract direct costs must be included in the “Consortium & Contractual Direct” section, and subcontract indirect costs should be included in the “Indirect Costs” section. Please add a separate line for direct costs and one for indirect costs for each subcontract.
  9. Requirements Multiple PIs
    (at different institutions who want to be paid separately)
    Subcontracts
    (including subcontract PI)
    Signed signature page Yes No
    Detailed budget template for additional PIs at different institutions Yes No
    Detailed budget template for subcontracts No Yes
    Direct costs entered into the “Consortium & Contractual Direct” section of the “Budget Period Detail” Yes Yes
    Indirect costs entered into the “Indirect” section of the “Budget Period Detail” Yes Yes
    Key personnel biosketches Yes Yes
    Key personnel current and pending support Yes Yes
    Renewable reagents and data-sharing plan No
    (contact PI to submit one overall document)
    No
    Resources research and environment No
    (contact PI to submit one overall document)
    No
    Budget justification No
    (a justification should be included in the budget template)
    No
    (a justification should be included in the budget template)
  10. Budget Summary: The budget summary will populate from the saved detailed budget.
  11. Organization Assurances: Indicate use of human participants or vertebrate animals in this section and status of approval from the Institutional Review Board or Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee. Grants cannot activate without current human participant and/or animal research ethical approval.
  12. Proposal Attachments: The following documents are to be uploaded in this section, where they are also available for download:
    1. Specific Aims Page: The Specific Aims Page should not exceed one (1) page and should be a summary of the proposed project focused on the research aims of the project, including a concise rationale for the hypothesis, description of preliminary data and experimental approach, and impact on autism research.
    2. Proposal Narrative: The Proposal Narrative should not exceed five (5) pages of single-spaced, 11-point text, 0.5-inch margins. The Proposal Narrative should be considered an expanded version of the Specific Aims Page and used to provide more detail on the following:
      1. Relevant scientific background
      2. Preliminary results when applicable
      3. Specific aims
      4. Experimental design
      5. Pitfalls and alternative strategies
      6. Project significance and relevance to autism
      7. Timeline and milestones

      Figures, figure legends and references should follow the narrative text and will NOT count towards the page limit. References should be in Journal of Neuroscience format, including full author list, title and a link to the PubMed publication. Figures are limited to five (5), each fitting on a single page. Please attach them at the end of the five-page narrative in the same PDF file.

    3. Human Participants Study Information Sheet:

      Applicants are strongly encouraged, but not required, to use SPARK or Simons Searchlight Research Match as part of their participation recruitment strategy.
    4. Biographical sketch of key personnel
    5. Budget justification

      Note: SPARK and Simons Searchlight Research Match includes services for identifying and contacting participants on behalf of your study. As such, some study team costs that are typically budgeted to a PI’s grant may be reduced with the use of Research Match. Simons Foundation will work with applicants selected for funding through this RFA to negotiate mutually agreeable budget terms, as needed.
    6. Budget templates:
      1. Multiple PIs: Applications with multiple PIs from different institutions who would like to be paid separately must submit a signed budget template for each PI institution.
      2. Subcontract: Applications with subcontracts must submit a budget template.
    7. Research environment and resources
    8. Renewable reagents and data-sharing plan
    9. Current and pending support: Please upload current and pending support both for PIs and for key personnel.
    10. 501(c)(3) determination or equivalency letter (foreign institutions only): Please upload, if available, a copy of your U.S. IRS 501(c)(3) determination or equivalency letter as part of the application (see Simons Foundation policies).
    11. Signed signature page: Applications with multiple PIs from different institutions who would like to be paid separately must submit a signed signature page from each PI institution.
  13. PI data sheet: Your professional profile will populate this section of the application. If revisions are required, please select “Edit Professional Profile” and go to the “Personal Data for Applications” section.
  14. Validate: You must click the “Validate” button to check for any missing required information or files. All missing required information will be listed on the screen. Please supply any missing information before proceeding to the next step.
  15. Signature page(s): The signed signature page is available for download in this section and must be signed by the signing official, then re-uploaded in the “Proposal Attachments” section. Applications with multiple PIs from different institutions who would like to be paid separately must submit a signed signature page for each PI institution.
  16. Submit: You will be unable to submit if you have not provided all the required information. Any missing information will be listed on the screen. If your submission is successful, you will receive a confirmation message on the screen and a confirmation email.
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Maximum Budget

Over a period of up to three years Maximum of $750,000

Important Dates
  • Application Available
  • Informational Zoom Meeting
  • Application Deadline
  • Award Notification
    August 2021
  • Award Start Dates
    September 1, 2021
    October 1, 2021
    November 1, 2021

Contact Info
  • Eligibilityplus--large
      Am I eligible to be a principal investigator (PI) on a SFARI award?plus--large

      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. 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. See the “Personnel FAQ” section for more information on the responsibilities of a SFARI principal investigator.

      Principal investigators (PIs) who do not have substantial ASD clinical expertise should include a close collaborator with such expertise on their grant application (e.g., multi-PI application).

      Can postdoctoral associates apply as PIs? plus--large

      No, postdoctoral associates may not apply as PIs even if your institution is willing to submit an application on your behalf.

      Senior postdoctoral research associates who are interested in pursuing an independent career in autism research are encouraged to apply for SFARI’s Bridge to Independence Award RFA.

      Can foreign institutions apply for a grant?plus--large

      Yes, foreign institutions may apply. Please see Simons Foundation policies regarding international grants.

      I am a recipient of the SFARI Bridge to Independence (BTI) award. Am I eligible to apply as a PI to the Human Cognitive and Behavioral Science RFA? plus--large

      BTI awardees may not apply to be PIs on a SFARI application within two years of the BTI grant start date. However, BTI awardees may be named in other personnel roles, including co-investigator and consultant. After the two-year moratorium, BTI awardees may apply as a PI for any SFARI grant program. Note that this moratorium applies only to SFARI grants and no other grant award programs within the Simons Foundation, such as the Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain or the Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Awards.

  • Personnelplus--large
      What is the difference between a principal investigator (PI) and a co-investigator?plus--large

      Principal Investigator
      The individual(s) judged by the applicant organization to have the appropriate level of authority and responsibility to direct the project or program supported by the grant. All PIs 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. He or she is responsible and accountable to the applicant organization and SFARI for the proper conduct of the project or activity, including the submission of all required reports. He or she will act as the main point of contact for the foundation.

      Co-investigator
      An individual involved with the PI in the scientific development or execution of a project. The co-investigator must hold a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent and be employed by, or affiliated with, the applicant/grantee organization or another organization participating in the project under a consortium agreement. A co-investigator is considered key personnel, but the Simons Foundation does not require a minimum effort from the co-investigator. The designation of a co-investigator, if applicable, does not affect the PI’s roles and responsibilities, nor is it a role implying multiple PIs.

      Is there a minimum percent effort for PIs or co-investigators?plus--large

      We seek applications from independent investigators who can devote a substantial portion of time to this effort. There is no minimum percent effort required for any personnel, but we expect personnel, in particular PIs and co-investigators, to have efforts that reflect their roles in the project.

      Can multiple PIs apply for a grant?plus--large

      When relevant, the applicant organization may designate multiple individuals as PIs who share the authority and responsibility for leading and directing the project, intellectually and logistically. Each PI is responsible and accountable to the applicant organization or, as appropriate, to a collaborating organization, for the proper conduct of the project or program, including the submission of all required reports. The presence of more than one identified PI on an application or award diminishes neither the responsibility nor the accountability of any individual PI.

      Principal investigators (PIs) who do not have substantial ASD clinical expertise should include a close collaborator with such expertise on their grant application (e.g., multi-PI application).

      The first PI listed, under whose name the application is submitted, will serve as the contact PI for administrative purposes. The contact PI must be affiliated with the institution submitting the application. The contact PI will be responsible for communication between SFARI and the rest of the leadership team.

      The role type “Co-PI” will not be used by SFARI.

      How do I designate multiple PIs on the application?plus--large
      • Applications with multiple PIs from different institutions that would like to be paid separately must upload the following items in the proposal attachments section:
        • Signed signature page for each PI (available for download in the “Proposal Attachments” and “Download Templates & Instructions” sections).
        • Budget template for each non-applicant PI (available for download in the “Proposal Attachments” and “Download Templates & Instructions” sections).
        • The direct costs for all non-applicant PIs must be included in the “Budget Period Detail” section in the “Consortium & Contractual Direct” section, and indirect costs for all non-applicant PIs should be included in the “Indirect Costs” section. Please add a separate line for both direct costs and indirect costs for each non-applicant PI.
      • Applications with multiple PIs from different institutions who will be paid directly by the contact PI’s institution are considered subcontracts. Subcontracts must submit:
        • Subcontract Detailed Budget (available for download in the “Proposal Attachments” and “Download Templates & Instructions” sections) for each subcontract.
        • Subcontract direct costs must be included in the “Consortium & Contractual Direct” section, and subcontract indirect costs should be included in the “Indirect Costs” section. Please add a separate line for both direct costs and indirect costs for each subcontract.
        • Only one signature page from the institution of the applicant PI submitting the application is required.
      • Applications with multiple PIs from the same institution do not need to submit additional materials. Additional non-applicant PIs should be listed as key personnel in the “Key Personnel” section and in the “Budget Period Detail” section, and only one signature page is needed.
      As the contact PI, should I be listed as key personnel in the application on proposalCENTRAL (pC)?plus--large

      No, please list only additional key personnel on the application (i.e., co-investigators, non-contact PI(s), postdoctoral research associates, etc.).

      Where do I enter additional co-investigators and additional key personnel?plus--large

      You can save personnel details in the “Key Personnel” section on the application.

      Can co-investigators and additional personnel be listed on multiple applications?plus--large

      Yes, co-investigators and additional personnel can be listed on multiple applications.

      Does the Simons Foundation require letters of support or collaboration?plus--large

      We do not require letters of support or letters of collaboration from co-investigators. If a letter is prepared, it can be uploaded as “Appendix – In-press papers on related topics.”

  • Submissionplus--large
      What is the submission schedule? plus--large

      The submission schedule is as follows:

      • March 1, 2021 RFA Opens
      • May 3, 2021 Full Application Submission Deadline
      Where do I submit the proposal?plus--large

      New users first need to register on proposalCENTRAL (pC). For all users, log in and select “Create New Proposal” or click on the “Grant Opportunities” tab. The SFARI programs will be listed during the submission period. Click “Apply Now” to start the application and access the template. After all sections are completed and your application PDF is uploaded, you will be able to hit the “Submit” button to send the application.

      How do I create a proposalCENTRAL user account?plus--large

      Go to https://proposalcentral.com/ and click “Create An Account Now.” Fill in the required fields, check the boxes to agree to proposalCENTRAL’s “Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy” and then click “Save.”

      Can I email or mail a proposal?plus--large

      No, the Simons Foundation accepts only applications submitted online through pC.

      Can someone else (assistant, staff member, etc.) submit my application for me?plus--large

      Yes, you can add users with administrator access to the pC application so that someone other than the principal investigator (PI) can edit and submit the application.

      Can I change the contact PI?plus--large

      Yes, linked instructions for how to change the contact PI can be found in the application.
      The person who starts an application will be named as the PI on the Applicant/PI page. If the Applicant/PI section does not show the correct person (e.g., someone else started the online application and you are the PI, or you started the application and someone else is the PI), you must update this section before submitting.

      Does the PI need to sign the signature page?plus--large

      No, only the signing official is required to sign the signature page.

      Where is the Submit button?plus--large

      The “Submit” button is located in the last section of the application. You will be unable to submit if you have not provided all the required information. If the submission deadline has NOT passed, use the “Validate” button to check for missing requirements. If the problem persists, please contact pcsupport@altum.com.

      If the deadline has passed, the submission period has closed and you will not be able to submit.

      I get an error message citing a missing section when I try to submit.plus--large

      The “Validate” button reviews your application for missing sections. The submission instructions list the required sections and attachments. You must complete the missing sections listed. If you are still receiving error messages after completing and saving the indicated sections, please contact pcsupport@altum.com.

      Are deadline times adjusted for time zones?plus--large

      No, please be advised that application deadlines on the application are in Eastern Time. We recommend registering early and submitting applications with ample time for corrections prior to the deadline hour. Site traffic can slow page-load times. The “Submit” button will not work after the deadline time has passed.

      Is there a confirmation email when I submit?plus--large

      A confirmation email is sent upon submission of the application. Please contact pcsupport@altum.com if you submitted your application and have not received a confirmation email within 10 minutes. Make sure that spam filters allow emails from pcsupport@altum.com. The application will be in the Submitted tab when you next log in.

      Can I make changes to the application once it has been submitted?plus--large

      Before you can make changes to your submitted application, you must first contact the Simons Foundation. Please email sfgrants@simonsfoundation.org or call (646) 654-0066. Applications can only be changed prior to the deadline.

      Is validating my proposal the same as submitting it?plus--large

      No. “Validating” the proposal checks for errors and omissions and will alert you to missing requirements of your application. If the application is complete, you must then click the “Submit” button. You will receive an email within 10 minutes and should contact pcsupport@altum.com if you do not receive confirmation and do not see your application in the SUBMITTED tab or with the status changed to Submitted.

      The funding notification date has passed, and I haven’t received a notification. What is the status of my proposal?plus--large

      You should receive notification within 24 hours of the deadline. Please check your spam filter settings if you have not received notification by then.

  • Proposalplus--large
      What should be included in the Specific Aims Page?plus--large

      The Specific Aims Page should be a summary of the proposed project focused on the research aims of the project, including a concise rationale for the hypothesis, description of preliminary data and experimental approach, and impact on autism research.

      What is the page limit for the Specific Aims Page?plus--large

      The Specific Aims Page should not exceed one (1) page of single-spaced, size 11 text, 0.5 margins.

      What is the page limit for the Proposal Narrative?plus--large

      Proposal Narratives should not exceed five (5) pages single-spaced, size 11 text, 0.5 margins. Figures, figure legends and references should follow the narrative text and will NOT count towards the page limit.

      How should the Proposal Narrative be organized?

      The Proposal Narrative should be considered an expanded version of the Specific Aims Page and used to provide more detail on the following:

      • Relevant scientific background
      • Preliminary results when applicable
      • Specific aims
      • Experimental design
      • Pitfalls and alternative strategies
      • Project significance and relevance to autism
      • Timeline and milestones

      SFARI considers the following information crucial for the evaluation of a project and encourages including the following details (where relevant):

      • Patient cohorts used (including source of participants, sample size and availability of genetic data). Investigators should also complete the Human Participants Study Information Sheet. Applicants are strongly encouraged, but not required, to use SPARK or Simons Searchlight Research Match as part of their participation recruitment strategy.
      • Datasets or biospecimen collections to be used (including SFARI resources) and their availability
      • A brief statement of statistical power
      Are references, figures and figure legends included in the Proposal Narrative page limit? How should they be included?plus--large

      References, figures and figure legends are not included in the page limits for the Proposal Narrative, although we have a limit of five (5) figures (each fitting on a single page). Please attach them at the end of the narrative in the same PDF file. The Simons Foundation’s preference is for figures to follow the narrative rather than be embedded in the text. References should be in Journal of Neuroscience format, including full author list, title and a link to Foundation does not require a minimum.

      What can I include as an appendix?plus--large

      In-press papers can be included as appendices, as well as any papers that you consider essential for the work of the review committee, but include no more than three (3) papers. Any other material should be included, if possible, in the narrative. If you have video attachments for your proposal, please upload them as an appendix (all file types are accepted).

      I plan to recruit human participants for my proposed study. Do I need to provide more information beyond what is included in my Proposal Narrative?plus--large

      Yes. All applications proposing to recruit human participants must complete the Human Participants Study Information Sheet available in proposalCENTRAL.

  • Budgetplus--large
      I plan to use SPARK or Simons Searchlight Research Match as part of my participant recruitment strategy. Do the services provided in this program include cost savings to my study team? plus--large

      Most likely. Research Match includes services for identifying and contacting participants on behalf of your study. As such, some study team costs which are typically budgeted to a PI’s grant may be reduced with the use of Research Match. Simons Foundation will work, as needed, with applicants selected for funding through this RFA to arrive at mutually agreeable budget terms.

      What do I do if there is a subcontract on the application? plus--large

      Applications with a subcontract (including PIs who will be paid directly by the contact PI’s institution) must submit:

      • Subcontract Detailed Budget (available for download in the “Proposal Subcontract Detailed Budget” and “Download Templates & Instructions” sections) for each subcontract.
      • Subcontract direct costs must be included in the “Consortium & Contractual Direct” section, and subcontract indirect costs should be included in the “Indirect Costs” section. Please add a separate line for both direct costs and indirect costs for each subcontract.
      Are indirect costs included in the budget limits?plus--large

      Yes. The total budget is $750,000 or less, inclusive of 20 percent indirect costs, over a period of up to three (3) years. Please note that indirect costs cannot be taken on equipment with a unit cost of more than $10,000.

      We strongly encourage investigators to tailor their requested budgets and duration to levels appropriate for the scope of their specific aims. As with all SFARI-funded projects, it is at Simons’ discretion to modify final budgets as needed. It is to the investigator’s advantage to include realistic budget estimations in their initial grant application.

  • Accessing Simons Collection Resources (i.e., SSC, Simons Searchlight, SPARK and AIC)plus--large
      How can I apply to recruit SPARK and Simons Searchlight participants for my research studies?plus--large

      Researchers may submit an application on SFARI Base. The SPARK and Simons Search Searchlight Participant Access Committee considers applications on a quarterly basis, but applications may be submitted at any time. Please refer to the SPARK recruitment process document for more details and email collections@sfari.org with any questions.

      How can I find out more about the data collected from SPARK and Simons Searchlight participants? plus--large

      Please see the SPARK and Simons Searchlight webpages for more information about each respective cohort and their available data. You can access and request information about the data collected from SPARK via SFARI Base. If you do not have a SFARI Base account, you must create one. If you have problems with the login or have questions regarding the collections, please email collections@sfari.org.

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