2020 Research Award – Request for Applications

Grants awarded through this RFA are intended to provide support for the investigation of key unresolved research questions in autism, particularly those that connect etiology to brain function and behavior. SFARI welcomes risk and novelty in Research Award proposals, but potential impact on the autism research field will be the most important criterion. Competitive applications will have preliminary data or other relevant groundwork that justifies substantial investment on the proposed topic.

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

Application Deadline
Maximum Budget

Over Four Years $1,300,000

Important Dates
  • Application Available
  • Application Deadline
  • Award Notification
  • Funding Start Dates
    June 1, 2020; July 1, 2020; or August 1, 2020
Contact Info
Read More
Maximum Budget

Over Four Years $1,300,000

Important Dates
  • Application Available
  • Application Deadline
  • Award Notification
  • Funding Start Dates
    June 1, 2020; July 1, 2020; or August 1, 2020
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 Research Awards from individuals who will conduct bold and rigorous research.

Objectives and Areas of Focus

The goal of the Research Award is to provide support for investigation of key unresolved research questions in autism, particularly those that connect genetic etiologies to brain function and behavior. SFARI welcomes risk and novelty in Research Award proposals, but potential impact on the autism research field will be the most important criterion. Competitive applications will have preliminary data or other relevant groundwork that justifies substantial investment in the proposed topic.

While SFARI remains open to persuasive arguments for the relevance of any particular project, Research Awards should be aligned with SFARI’s scientific perspectives. Below are a few examples of types of research questions that address SFARI’s overarching goals:

  • Biological convergence: Given the ever-growing list of genetic risk factors for ASD, it will be important to explore whether biological convergence occurs at the molecular, cellular, circuit or behavioral levels. When convergence is observed, how does it relate to other levels of biological complexity and inform potential opportunities for intervention?
  • Developmental trajectories: How do risk factors for ASD affect biological systems across different stages of development? What are the critical time points, and do they differ by biological mechanism or genetic etiology? How does this inform efforts to develop interventions?
  • Major hypotheses: A number of intriguing hypotheses merit rigorous testing of their validity and generalizability, in addition to suitability for therapeutic follow-up. Examples include excitatory-inhibitory neural imbalance1; etiological roles for sensory dysfunction in the development of social phenotypes in autism2-4, and causative roles of certain cell types or brain areas, such as glutamatergic cortical neurons4-12; or the striatum12-14.

The above-mentioned topics are neither exhaustive nor exclusionary but are illustrative of key research issues in autism that may be appropriate for investigation through a Research Award.

For additional information, please review SFARI’s recent changes in grant award mechanisms. We strongly advise applicants to familiarize themselves with SFARI’s currently funded projects and resources in order to think about how a proposal might complement ongoing efforts.

Budget and Grant Duration

The maximum budget of a Research Award is $1,300,000, including 20 percent indirect costs, over a period of up to four (4) years. We encourage investigators to take advantage of the flexibility in budget and duration to tailor the scope of the award as appropriate for their specific aims. For projects that propose four years of research, progress will be critically evaluated at the end of year two before support for the remaining two years will be approved.

As with all SFARI funding, proposed budgets will be assessed on the appropriateness for the scope of work and merit of commitment. Larger budgets invite heightened scrutiny and will raise the bar for funding. Overlap of the proposed project with funding from other sources should be avoided and, if unavoidable, must be carefully explained and justified. Moreover, an investigator’s track record of scientific accomplishment will be especially relevant to our decisions on Research Awards.

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.

Current recipients of SFARI Research Awards may apply for new funding, but please note that we generally prioritize new grant applications and provide only limited renewal funding, especially for projects considered to be appropriate for National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 award funding. To be considered competitive for a SFARI renewal, projects should demonstrate substantial progress on the original award; focus on a topic of continued high importance for SFARI; and be deemed unlikely to obtain funding from the NIH or other organizations.

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 Research 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. If you have other questions, please review our FAQ.

References

  1. Rubenstein J.L. and Merzenich M.M. Genes Brain Behav. 2, 255-267 (2003) PubMed
  2. Robertson C.E. and Baron-Cohen S. NatRev. Neurosci. 18, 671-684 (2017) PubMed
  3. Orefice L.L. et al. Cell 166, 299-313 (2016) PubMed
  4. Orefice L.L. et al. Cell 178, 867-886 (2019) PubMed
  5. Willsey A.J. et al. Cell 155, 997-1007 (2013) PubMed
  6. Parikshak N.N. et al. Cell 155, 1008-1021 (2013) PubMed
  7. Ben-David E. and Shifman S. Mol. Psychiatry 18, 1054-1056 (2013) PubMed
  8. Chang J. et al. Nat. Neurosci. 18, 191-198 (2015) PubMed
  9. Lin G.N. et al. Neuron 85, 742-754 (2015) PubMed
  10. Pinto D. et al. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 94, 677-694 (2014) PubMed
  11. Uddin M. et al. Nat. Genet. 46, 742-747 (2014) PubMed
  12. Xu X. et al. J. Neurosci. 34, 1520-1431 (2014) PubMed
  13. Coe B.P. et al. Nat. Genet. 51, 106-116 (2019) PubMed
  14. Rothwell P.E. et al. Cell 158, 198-212 (2014) 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

Over Four Years $1,300,000

Important Dates
  • Application Available
  • Application Deadline
  • Award Notification
  • Funding Start Dates
    June 1, 2020; July 1, 2020; or August 1, 2020
Contact Info

The submission deadline is Friday, January 10, 2020, 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. 2020 Research RFA Application Instructions
    2. Simons Foundation Policies and Procedures
    3. 2020 Research RFA Announcement
    4. Methodological and statistical considerations for SFARI grant proposals
    5. Induced pluripotent stem cell models of autism: Experimental design considerations
    6. Research RFA Specific Aims Page Template
    7. Research RFA Proposal Narrative Template
    8. Human Participants Study Information Sheet
    9. Chemical and Compound Information Sheet
    10. Statement of Changes Template
    11. Biosketch Template
    12. Budget Justification Template
    13. Current and Pending Support Template
    14. Resources and Research Environment Template
    15. Renewable Reagents and Data Sharing Plan Template
    16. Detailed Budget Template 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
  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 FAQ section.
  7. Abstract: Enter as text in this section.
  8. Budget Period Detail: The following information is required for the “Budget Period Detail”
    1. Award start date: Proposals selected for funding as SFARI 2020 Research Awards will be announced in April 2020, and funding will begin on June 1, 2020; July 1, 2020; or August 1, 2020. 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 Simons Foundation 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 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.
        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”.

       

      1. Investigators interested in recruiting human participants, including those from a Simons Collection 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.

       

        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 & Instructions” sections).

           

            1. Budget template for each non-applicant PI (available for download in the “Proposal Attachments” and “Download Templates & Instructions” sections).

           

          1. 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.

       

        1. 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.

       

        1. 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.

       

      1. 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.

           

          1. 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.

       

      1. 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 Yes 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 seven (7) 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 seven-page narrative in the same PDF file.
    1. Human Participants Study Information Sheet: Required only for investigators proposing to conduct human participant research/clinical studies.
    2. Investigational Compound Information Sheet: Required only for investigators proposing to use chemicals or pharmaceutical compounds in animal research.
    3. Statement of Changes Template: Required only for investigators who are resubmitting an application previously submitted to SFARI.
    4. Biographical Sketches of Key Personnel
    5. Budget Justification
    6. 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.

       

      1. Subcontract: Applications with subcontracts must submit a budget template.
    7. 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.
    8. Research Environment and Resources
    9. Renewable Reagents and Data-Sharing Plan
    10. Current and Pending Support: Please upload current and pending support for all PIs and key personnel.
    11. 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.)
    12. 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” 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 seven (7)-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.

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Maximum Budget

Over Four Years $1,300,000

Important Dates
  • Application Available
  • Application Deadline
  • Award Notification
  • Funding Start Dates
    June 1, 2020; July 1, 2020; or August 1, 2020
Contact Info
  • Eligibilityplus--large
      Am I eligible to be a principal investigator (PI) on a SFARI Pilot or Research 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.

      If you are still unclear about your eligibility, please submit the Applicant Eligibility Form. A member from the Simons Foundation Grants Team will respond to you by email to confirm your eligibility status.

      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 a SFARI Pilot or Research Award? plus--large

      BTI awardees may not apply to be PIs on a SFARI Pilot or Research Award 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.

      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:
        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. The direct costs for all non-applicant PIs must be included in section 8 (budget period detail) 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:
        1. Subcontract Detailed Budget (available for download in the proposal attachments and download templates & instructions sections) for each subcontract.
        2. 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.
        3. 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 section 6 (key personnel) and in section 8 (budget period detail), 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 RFA submission schedule for the 2019-20 academic year? plus--large

      The 2019–2020 submission schedule is as follows:

      • 2020 Winter Pilot RFA: open July 9 2019; application deadline September 13, 2019
      • 2020 Research RFA: open mid-November 2019; application deadline January 10, 2020
      • 2020 Summer Pilot RFA: open late Feb 2020; application deadline April 24, 2020
      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.altum.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 named 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.

      submit button?"> 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.

  • Resubmissions and Renewalsplus--large
      Can PIs submit multiple applications for Pilot and Research Awards? plus--large

      Principal Investigators may submit multiple applications for funding during the 2019-2020 cycle, however SFARI is exceedingly unlikely to award more than one grant to a given PI in a single year.

      Can PIs re-submit unfunded applications?plus--large

      Unsuccessful applications submitted to previous SFARI RFAs may be resubmitted in subsequent RFAs. For all resubmissions, we ask PIs to submit a statement of changes describing substantive changes to the application since the previous submission. If the previous application was externally reviewed, this document should include point-by-point responses to the reviewers’ critiques. This document will be used primarily by SFARI’s internal scientific staff, although in some cases portions of it may be shared with external reviewers at SFARI’s discretion. If the revised application does not include substantive changes, it is unlikely that the outcome will change. This is especially true for applications that were not externally reviewed, as this decision is often based on the relevance of the project to SFARI’s mission.

      Can PIs submit applications for renewal of a previously-funded SFARI award?plus--large

      PIs who have completed productive Pilot or Explorer Award projects are encouraged to apply for continuation funding through larger awards (e.g., Research Award). Recipients of SFARI Research Awards may also apply for continuation funding, but please note that we generally prioritize new grant applications and provide only limited renewal funding. To be considered competitive for a SFARI renewal, projects should demonstrate substantial progress on the original award, focus on a topic of continued high importance for SFARI, and be deemed unlikely to obtain funding from the NIH or other organizations.

  • 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

      Pilot Award Proposal Narratives should not exceed three (3) pages single-spaced, size 11 text, 0.5 margins. Research Award Proposal Narratives should not exceed seven (7) 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?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
      • 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):

      • Induced pluripotent stem cell lines and controls to be used, and their availability
      • Animal model strains/lines and their availability
      • Patient cohorts used (including source of participants, sample size and availability of genetic data). Investigators should also complete the Human Participants Study information sheet.
      • Datasets or biospecimen collections to be used (including SFARI resources) and their availability
      • 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 we have a limit of 10 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 PubMed.

      What is a “statement of changes”?plus--large

      For all resubmissions, we ask PIs to submit a statement of changes describing substantive changes to the application since the previous submission. If the previous application was externally reviewed, this document should include point-by-point responses to the reviewers’ critiques. This document will be used primarily by SFARI’s internal scientific staff, although in some cases portions of it may be shared with external reviewers at SFARI’s discretion.

      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 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 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 example, the total limit for a Pilot Award is $300,000, which includes indirect costs, at 20 percent for up to two (2) years. Please note that indirect costs cannot be taken on equipment with a unit cost of more than $10,000 or on tuition or SSC and Simons Searchlight biospecimens.

  • Accessing Simons Collection Resources (i.e., SSC, Simons Searchlight, SPARK and AIC)plus--large
      How can I find out more about available data and biospecimens (where applicable) from the SSC, Simons Searchlight, SPARK and the Autism Inpatient Collection (AIC)? plus--large

      You can access and request information about the SSC, Simons Searchlight, SPARK and the AIC on SFARI Base. If you do not have 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.

      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 with the login or have questions regarding the collections, please email collections@sfari.org.

      Are biospecimens available from SPARK?plus--large

      No, but phenotypic and genetic data are currently available to approved researchers via SFARI Base.

      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.

      Do budget limits include the cost of purchasing SSC and Simons Searchlight biospecimens?plus--large

      No, SSC, Simons Searchlight and AIC biospecimen costs are not included in the budget limit. Prices can be found on the price list on our website.

A multi-model screening approach for the functional characterization of large numbers of ASD variants

  • Awarded: 2018
  • Award Type: Research
  • Award #: 573845

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