Summer 2019 Pilot Award – Request for Applications

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

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

Maximum Budget

Over Two Years $300,000

Important Dates
  • Application Available
  • Application Deadline
  • Award Notification
  • Award Start Dates
    September 1, 2019
    October 1, 2019
    November 1, 2019

Contact Info
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Maximum Budget

Over Two Years $300,000

Important Dates
  • Application Available
  • Application Deadline
  • Award Notification
  • Award Start Dates
    September 1, 2019
    October 1, 2019
    November 1, 2019

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.

To this end, we solicit applications for SFARI awards from individuals who will conduct bold, imaginative, rigorous and relevant research.

Objective of the Pilot Award

The goal of the Pilot Award is to provide early support for exploratory ideas, particularly those with novel hypotheses. Appropriate projects for this mechanism include those considered higher risk but with the potential for transformative results. To get a better understanding of SFARI’s different RFAs and whether the Pilot Award may be the best mechanism to support your project, please read our blog post “SFARI RFA reboot: Why, what and how?

In particular, we encourage applications that propose research to link genetic or other ASD risk factors to molecular, cellular, circuit or behavioral mechanisms of ASD. Please read more about SFARI’s scientific perspectives here. We also strongly advise applicants to familiarize themselves with the current projects and other resources that SFARI supports and to think about how their proposals might complement existing efforts.

The total budget of a Pilot Award is $300,000 or less, including 20% indirect costs, over a period of up to two (2) years. We encourage investigators to take advantage of the flexibility in budget and duration, tailoring the scope of the award as appropriate for their specific aims. For projects that propose two years of research, progress will be critically evaluated at the end of year one before support for the remaining year will be approved. When provided with a compelling justification, we are willing to consider larger budgets for the Pilot Award. One example would be exceptional costs required for some human studies. We strongly encourage investigators considering budgets that exceed our guidelines to consult SFARI science staff before submission (please contact sfarigrants@simonsfoundation.org).

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. 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, and units of state and local government; and eligible agencies of the federal government. There are no citizenship or country requirements.

Multiple Applications and Resubmissions

As mentioned in our accompanying blog post, for the 2018–2019 academic year, we have now released two Pilot Award requests for applications (RFAs), i.e., the current RFA and one previously released in Fall 2018, in addition to one Research RFA that was released at the end of 2018. Principal Investigators may only submit one Pilot Award and one Research Award application per academic year. In addition, unfunded Pilot Award proposals may not be re-submitted in consecutive Pilot Award cycles (e.g. if an application is submitted to the Winter 2019 Pilot Award RFA, the next eligibility for re-submission would be for the Winter 2020 Pilot Award RFA or if an application is submitted for the Summer 2019 Pilot Award RFA, the next eligibility would be for the Summer 2020 Pilot Award RFA). For investigators with active SFARI grants, renewal requests will be considered but we also encourage investigators to seek continuation support from outside—usually federal—funding sources.

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 Pilot Award 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. In case of remaining questions, please take a look at our extensive FAQ section.

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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 Two Years $300,000

Important Dates
  • Application Available
  • Application Deadline
  • Award Notification
  • Award Start Dates
    September 1, 2019
    October 1, 2019
    November 1, 2019

Contact Info

The submission deadline is Thursday, April 18, 2019, 5:00 PM Eastern Time

Accessing the Application in proposalCENTRAL:
Prospective applicants must submit an application 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 One Now!” under “Application Login.” Fill in the required fields, check the boxes to agree to pC’s Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy and then click “Save.” For the next steps, see the If You Have an Existing Account in pC section below.

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 then click “Apply Now” for the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative-Research Award program in order to start the proposal and access the templates. After all sections are completed, you will be able to click on the “Submit” button.

Application Requirements and Submission Instructions
To submit an application, the following proposalCENTRAL sections must be completed:

  1. Title Page: Please provide the following information
    1. Project title
    2. Indicate use of Simons Collections biospecimens, data, or patient recruitment
    3. Select a primary category. Please note a secondary category is not required.
  2. Download Templates & Instructions: The following templates are available for download:
    1. Summer 2019 Pilot RFA Application Instructions
    2. SFARI Policies
    3. Summer 2019 Pilot RFA Announcement
    4. Methodological and statistical considerations for SFARI grant proposals
    5. Induced pluripotent stem cell models of autism: Experimental design considerations
    6. Pilot RFA Specific Aims Page Template
    7. Pilot RFA Proposal Narrative Template
    8. Human Participants Study Information Sheet
    9. Chemical and Compound Information Sheet
    10. Key Personnel Biosketch
    11. Budget Justification
    12. Current and Pending Support
    13. Resources and Research Environment
    14. Renewable Reagents and Data Sharing Plan
    15. Detailed Budget for Subcontract
  3. Enable Other Users to Access This Proposal: Complete this section to give administrators or collaborators access and to allow other users to submit the application on your behalf.
  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: Enter the lead institution. Contact information for the signing official and 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: principal investigators (not including the contact PI), co-investigators, consultants, postdoctoral research associates and others. In rare circumstances, the applicant organization may designate multiple individuals as PIs who share the authority and responsibility for leading and directing the project, intellectually and logistically. For more information on the responsibilities of PIs, please refer to the relevant questions in the Pilot and Research Award RFA FAQ.
  7. Abstract Enter as text in this section.
  8. Budget Period Detail: The following information is required for the “Budget Period Detail” section.
    1. Award start date: Proposals selected for funding as SFARI Summer 2019 Pilot Awards will be announced in August 2019, and funding will begin on September 1, 2019; October 1, 2019; or November 1, 2019. 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.
      1. Other considerations: Please note 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 SFARI policies).
    3. Indirect Costs (IDC): IDCs are limited to 20 percent of direct costs, with the following exceptions: equipment, tuition, pre- and postdoctoral fellow stipends and benefits (non-university personnel), Simons Collections biospecimens and any subcontracts with budgets including IDCs. IDCs paid to a subcontractor may not exceed 20 percent of the direct costs paid to the subcontractor. IDCs on large equipment are not allowable; however, IDCs on small equipment (equipment with a unit price up to $10,000) are permissible.
    4. Equipment: The Simons Foundation 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 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 $50,000 or less 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 Variation in Individuals Project (Simons VIP)], 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.
      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 families from the SSC or Simons VIP research participants must complete and submit a Human Participants Study Information Sheet.
    6. 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 act as the main point of contact for the foundation by coordinating 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 & Instructions” sections).
        2. Budget template for each non-applicant PI (available for download in the “Proposal Attachments” and “Download Templates & Instructions” sections).
        3. Direct costs for all non-applicant PIs, which must be given in section 8 (“Budget Period Detail”) in the “Consortium & Contractual Direct” section. 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.
      3. Applications with multiple PIs from different institutions who will be paid directly by the contact PI’s institution are considered subcontractors. Please refer to the 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 section 6 (“Key Personnel”) and in section 8 (“Budget Period Detail”), and only one signature page is needed.
      5. Please see the chart below for a detailed breakdown of multiple PI requirements.
    7. 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 & Instructions” sections) for each subcontract.
        2. Direct costs for all subcontract PIs, which must be given in section 8 (“Budget Period Detail”) in the “Consortium & Contractual Direct” section. Indirect costs for all subcontract PIs should be included in the “Indirect Costs” section. Please add a separate line for both direct costs and indirect costs for each subcontract PI.
      2. Please see the chart below for a detailed breakdown of subcontract requirements.
Requirements Multiple PIs
(at different institutions that 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)
  1. Budget Summary: The “Budget Summary” will populate from the saved “Budget Period Detail” section.
  2. 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 and Use Committee. Grants cannot activate without current human participant and/or animal research ethical approval.
  3. Proposal Attachments: The following documents are to be uploaded in the “Proposal Attachments” 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 three (3) pages of single-spaced, size 11 text, 0.5 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 PubMed. Figures are limited to 10, 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. Chemical and Compound Information Sheet: Required only for investigators proposing to use chemicals or pharmaceutical compounds in animal research.
    5. Biographical Sketches of Key Personnel
    6. Budget Justification
    7. Budget Templates:
      1. Multiple PIs: Applications with multiple PIs from different institutions that 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.
    8. Progress Report: Investigators currently receiving SFARI funding on science relevant for the current proposal should include a progress report in two (2) pages or less.
    9. Research Environment and Resources
    10. Renewable Reagents and Data-Sharing Plan
    11. Current and Pending Support: Please upload current and pending support for all PIs and key personnel.
    12. 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 SFARI policies.)
    13. Signed Signature Page: Applications with multiple PIs from different institutions that would like to be paid separately must submit a signed signature page from each PI institution.
  4. 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 section 4 (“Personal Data for Applications”). Please note that the contact PI’s ORCID identifier is required. Once the PI’s ORCID iD is provided, you will be able to sync a limited amount of data from your ORCID account with your pC account.
  5. Validate: You must click the “Validate” button below to check for any missing required information or files. All missing required information will be listed on the screen. Please correct any missing information before proceeding to the next step.
  6. 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 that would like to be paid separately must submit a signed signature page for each PI institution.
  7. 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 will be sent to the applicant.

Please note that narratives exceeding the 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.

Read More
Maximum Budget

Over Two Years $300,000

Important Dates
  • Application Available
  • Application Deadline
  • Award Notification
  • Award Start Dates
    September 1, 2019
    October 1, 2019
    November 1, 2019

Contact Info

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