Maternal COVID-19 as a potential risk for autism: Supplemental funding for ongoing pregnancy cohorts – Request for applications

Grants awarded through this RFA will supplement funding from other agencies for ongoing pregnancy cohorts to broaden biospecimen collection and to extend post-natal family tracking. These cohorts and biospecimen collections can be leveraged in future research to understand the effects of gestational infection and inflammation on autism risk in children.

The maximum budget is $250,000 for projects recruiting at a single site, and $400,000 for projects recruiting at two or more sites.

Application Deadline
Maximum Budget

Recruiting at a single site Maximum of $250,000 over 3 years
Recruiting at two or more sites Maximum of $400,000 over 3 years

Important Dates
  • Application Deadline
  • Award Notification
  • Award Start Dates
    June 1, 2021
    July 1, 2021
    August 1, 2021

Maximum Budget

Recruiting at a single site Maximum of $250,000 over 3 years
Recruiting at two or more sites Maximum of $400,000 over 3 years

Important Dates
  • Application Deadline
  • Award Notification
  • Award Start Dates
    June 1, 2021
    July 1, 2021
    August 1, 2021

Contact Info
Read More
Maximum Budget

Recruiting at a single site Maximum of $250,000 over 3 years
Recruiting at two or more sites Maximum of $400,000 over 3 years

Important Dates
  • Application Deadline
  • Award Notification
  • Award Start Dates
    June 1, 2021
    July 1, 2021
    August 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

Several prospective pregnancy cohorts, across multiple continents, are being recruited during the COVID-19 pandemic. These cohorts afford the opportunity to better understand the impact of maternal infection and inflammation on risk for neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism. Prior animal studies suggest that the risk of adverse outcomes is related to specific T-cell subpopulations, which may be sensitized by the intestinal microbiome1. Therefore, SFARI believes that biospecimen collection in the pandemic pregnancy cohorts should include maternal blood for both peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and cytokine assays, as well as cord blood collection at birth. Consideration should also be given to collection of maternal stool specimens. Ideally, biospecimens should be collected at multiple timepoints, given the changes that can occur in cytokine and PBMC profiles through the course of pregnancy in response to infection and the presumed importance of fetal age in moderating the impact of maternal risk factors. Furthermore, it is critical that the collection of biospecimens be complemented by the tracking of families after delivery so that child neurodevelopmental outcomes can be determined at age 2–3 years.

SFARI is offering this request for applications (RFA) because many of the cohorts that SFARI has queried collect maternal blood at only one or two timepoints, and almost none of the cohorts collect stool specimens. A majority of the cohorts lack child follow-up beyond a few months of age, though some are able to ascertain child outcomes through the use of medical registry data.

We encourage applicants to familiarize themselves with the summary of a recent SFARI workshop on COVID-19, pregnancy and autism, which can be found here.

Request for applications

SFARI invites your proposal for funding to extend biospecimen collection and post-natal family tracking in your prospective pregnancy cohort study. A total award period of three years is planned. We anticipate that the budget for Year 1 would primarily support biospecimen collection, but also processing and storage, if needed. The budgets for Years 2 and 3 would primarily support family tracking to ensure that they can be contacted for child clinical assessment at 2–3 years of age. Funding for Years 2 and 3 will be dependent on successful recruitment of participants and collection of biospecimens in Year 1.

For investigators who do not have sufficient biorepository capacity, SFARI is likely to offer centralized biospecimen processing and storage at a SFARI-approved repository in the United States. For biospecimens stored at a SFARI repository, SFARI will manage distribution of samples to qualified investigators. Investigators who require SFARI-managed storage are asked to specify whether storage in the United States is permitted by their study’s consent and by their national or other relevant regulations. Should storage of biospecimens at a SFARI facility not be allowed, applying investigators should provide detailed alternative plans.

Funding for analysis of biospecimens will not be provided through this RFA. Rather, this RFA will support the collection of biospecimens that can be leveraged in future applications (to any interested funder) after the number and availability of biospecimens is established and a preliminary determination has been made of COVID-19 infection rates in each cohort. Principal Investigators who can demonstrate the existence of funding for sample analysis, and who have an approved plan of analysis, are required to submit detailed plans in the application. Plans should include biospecimen processing and storage protocols and detailed biospecimen analysis and related protocols.

Funding for clinical assessments of the children born of these pregnancies (at age 23 years) also will not be provided through this RFA. Rather, this RFA will support participant retention so that the cohorts can be contacted for future research (which may be supported by any interested funder).

SFARI encourages collaborative applications, as well as those that leverage resources for biospecimen characterization and/or additional clinical characterization of the cohort participants.

Applications should include the following elements:

Cohort: Please describe the current and expected total cohort size, current and expected racial/ethnic composition of the cohort, strategy for determining COVID-19 exposure status and number of mothers in the cohort who are known or expected to be exposed to COVID-19 during pregnancy. Please provide the rationale for your projections, such as the number of deliveries managed by your site annually, and COVID-19 infection rates in the geographic region. Describe whether there are current or future plans to genetically characterize the collection.

Existing cohort funding: The duration and amount of existing support for your cohort efforts will be critical elements in the evaluation of applications. In the “Current and Pending Support” section of your application, describe the source, amount and duration of your support. Include grant title, principal investigator and specific aims.

Biospecimens: Describe biospecimen types and collection schedule under the support you currently hold. Provide data on your current success rate for biospecimen collection. Include a description of how additional support would bolster the biospecimen types and/or collection schedule. A table or figure may be effective for this purpose. Specify any changes to biospecimen processing and storage if additional support is received.

For blood samples, please include a description of the tubes used for collection and amount of blood collected, e.g.: pediatric versus adult tubes; EDTA tubes (usually purple top, best suited for collection of WB DNA and plasma) versus ACD (acid citrate dextrose, usually with yellow tops and best suited for collection of cells). Include protocols for collection of blood to allow for genetic studies. Include protocols to collect stools, if you are including them in your proposed research. Also include protocols if you plan to collect any other biospecimens (examples might include placental tissue, urine or cerebrospinal fluid). Provide a description of the downstream assays you intend to perform on the collected samples and confirm that the stabilization buffer in the blood tube used (containing heparin or EDTA) will not inhibit or confound downstream assays.

In order to perform adequate and comprehensive immunological analyses, we encourage the collection of blood to obtain frozen peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). PBMCs can be used to assess the function of several immune cells and to test in vitro recall or stimulation response. Blood collection to extract WB DNA and to isolate plasma is also encouraged. SFARI will provide protocols on how to ship samples for processing and storage to the SFARI repository. If samples will be processed and stored at different facilities, describe the processing. Please also comment if you will be able to collect samples during active COVID-19 infection and, in this case, how you will provide information on whether the samples were collected during active infection or after recovery.

Family/child tracking for outcome assessments: Describe any existing plans for family tracking and child outcome assessments. Describe if and how family/child tracking would be augmented if additional support is received. (Cohorts that leverage national health register data may not require family tracking.)

Data Sharing

Biospecimens: Clearly describe whether you will be willing and allowed by national or other pertinent regulations to send the collected samples to a SFARI repository in the United States. If opting for SFARI-managed storage, you may also retain aliquots locally, as long as tubes are sent to the SFARI repository. If you choose to store the samples exclusively at your institutions or are not allowed to send them to a SFARI repository, please describe what your data sharing plan is for such samples. How will other investigators, including SFARI-investigators, be able to access such samples? How and when will access be granted?

Data: Clearly describe your plans for data sharing (including the format and frequency of release of the data that you will collect with the support from this award).

Level and duration of funding

Awards made for projects that recruit at a single site will have a maximum budget of $250,000 (total) over 3 years of funding, including 20 percent indirect costs. Projects that recruit at two or more sites may request a maximum budget up to $400,000 (total), including indirect costs. We anticipate that funding in Year 1 will primarily support biospecimen collection and processing. Funding in Years 2 and 3 is expected to be directed primarily to family tracking. Thus, annual funding amounts may vary from year to year.

Please email ScienceRFA@simonsfoundation.org for questions related to funding allocations.

Contacts


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

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

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

Reference

  1. Kim S. et al. Nature 549, 528-532 (2017) PubMed
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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

Recruiting at a single site Maximum of $250,000 over 3 years
Recruiting at two or more sites Maximum of $400,000 over 3 years

Important Dates
  • Application Deadline
  • Award Notification
  • Award Start Dates
    June 1, 2021
    July 1, 2021
    August 1, 2021

Contact Info

The deadline for application submission is Friday, March 12, 2021, 5:00 PM 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” under “Need an account?” 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 – Targeted – COVID” 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: Enter the proposal title in this section.
  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).
  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 Simons Foundation grant policies and procedures.
  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: Funding will begin on June 1, July 1, August 1, 2021.
    2. Personnel: Please provide the name, role, appointment type, percent effort, institutional base salary, requested salary, fringe rate and requested fringe for all personnel.
      1. 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. While IDCs on most equipment are not allowable, IDCs on small equipment with a unit cost of less than $10,000 are permissible.
    4. Equipment: The Simons Foundation (SF) will own equipment purchased with SF 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, SF 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 our website. 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: For projects recruiting at a single site, the maximum total budget is $250,000, including indirect costs, for up to three years. For projects recruiting at multiple sites, the maximum total budget is $400,000, including indirect costs, for up to three years.
    7. Multiple PIs:
      1. Please note that 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.
      2. 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.
      3. 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.
      4. 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:
      1. 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. Budget Summary: The budget summary will populate from the saved detailed budget.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 ongoing project focused on its research aims, progress to date and a description of how SFARI funding would be used to enhance biomarker collection and/or post-natal family tracking.
    2. Proposal Narrative: The Proposal Narrative should not exceed three (3) 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 specific detail on each of the following:
      1. Relevant scientific background (including an overview of COVID-19 epidemiology in geographic region(s) of cohort recruitment)
      2. Specific aims of the ongoing cohort study
      3. Experimental design of the ongoing cohort study, including biospecimen collection, processing, storage and distribution, as well as any ongoing or future funded analyses
      4. Preliminary results (including recruitment progress, as well as progress in biomarker collection and family tracking)
      5. Description of additional biomarker sampling and family tracking that would be supported by an award from SFARI
      6. Pitfalls and alternative strategies
      7. Timeline and milestones
      8. 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 5, each fitting on a single page. Please attach them at the end of the three-page narrative in the same PDF file.

    3. Human Participants Study Information Sheet:Required only for investigators proposing to conduct human participant research/clinical studies.
    4. Biographical sketch of key personnel.
    5. Budget justification.
    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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.

Please note that narratives exceeding the three (3)-page limit will not be reviewed. Figures, figure legends and references (formatted in the Journal of Neuroscience style) are not included in the page limit.

Contacts

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

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

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

Read More
Maximum Budget

Recruiting at a single site Maximum of $250,000 over 3 years
Recruiting at two or more sites Maximum of $400,000 over 3 years

Important Dates
  • Application Deadline
  • Award Notification
  • Award Start Dates
    June 1, 2021
    July 1, 2021
    August 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. 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, 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.

      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 Maternal COVID-19 RFA? plus--large

      BTI awardees may not apply to be PIs on the Maternal COVID-19 RFA 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. PIs are responsible and accountable to their respective applicant organizations and SFARI for the proper conduct of their project or activity, including the submission of all required reports. PIs 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.

      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 who would like to be paid separately must upload in the “Proposal Attachments” section:
        • Signed signature page for each PI (available for download in the “Proposal Attachments” and “Download Templates and Instructions” sections).
        • Budget template for each non-applicant PI (available for download in the “Proposal Attachments” and “Download Templates and Instructions” sections).
        • 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. Subcontracts must submit:
        • Subcontract Detailed Budget (available for download in the “Proposal Attachments” and “Download Templates and 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 both the “Key Personnel” and “Budget Period Detail” sections, 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:

      • February 18, 2021 RFA Opens
      • March 12, 2021 Application 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 click 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 one now” under “Need an account?” 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 sfarigrants@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.

  • Multiple Application Submissionplus--large
      Can PIs submit multiple applications?plus--large

      Principal Investigators may submit multiple applications for funding in a single calendar year. Receiving an award under this RFA will not affect likelihood of receiving another SFARI award in 2021.

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

      The Specific Aims Page should be a summary of the ongoing project focused on its research aims, progress to date, and a description of how SFARI funding would be used to enhance biomarker collection and/or post-natal family tracking.

      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-inch margins.

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

      Proposal Narratives should not exceed three (3) pages single-spaced, 11-point text, 0.5-inch 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?plus--large

      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
      • Specific aims
      • Experimental design
      • Preliminary results
      • Description of proposed, additional biomarker sampling and family tracking
      • Pitfalls and alternative strategies
      • 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.
      • Include datasets or biospecimen collections to be used (including SFARI resources) and their availability.
      • Provide a brief statement of statistical power.
      • Investigators should refer to the “Methodological and Statistical Considerations” sheet for further information on necessary experimental detail to include in the proposal narrative.
      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 there is a limit of 5 figures (each fitting on a single page). The Simons Foundation’s preference is for figures to follow the narrative rather than be embedded in the text. Please attach them at the end of the narrative in the same PDF file. References should be in Journal of Neuroscience format, including full author list, title and a link to the PubMed publication.

      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, not 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 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
      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 Attachments” and “Download Templates and 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. For projects recruiting at a single site, the maximum allowable budget across all years is $250,000, which includes indirect costs at 20 percent. For projects recruiting at multiple sites, the maximum allowable budget across all years is $400,000, including indirect costs. Please note that indirect costs cannot be taken on equipment with a unit cost of more than $10,000.

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

      Researchers may submit an application on SFARI Base. The SPARK 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 participants? plus--large

      Please see the SPARK webpage for more information about the SPARK cohort and 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 logging in or have questions regarding the collections, please email collections@sfari.org.

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