$100,000 per year for up to three years
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.
With the understanding that diversity in the scientific workforce is an important element for the goal of advancing autism science, SFARI announces a new program that will provide supplements to existing grants for the recruitment of new lab members from American underrepresented minority groups at the postdoctoral level. For the purposes of this supplement, eligible groups include the following: African American/Black; Latin American/Hispanic; Native American/Alaskan Native; Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander (including Filipino).
The goal of this award is to increase diversity and fight inequity. SFARI Principal Investigators (PIs) are encouraged to recruit candidates for this supplement not only at their home institution, but also at historically Black colleges and universities and other institutions with high minority enrollment. SFARI will not award supplements to fund current lab members, even if they are not funded by the original SFARI award.
To facilitate the academic success and independence of selected postdoctoral research associates, SFARI will organize networking opportunities with peer awardees, other SFARI grantees (including both early career and senior investigators) and SFARI staff.
As a condition for accepting the grant, the mentor and candidate must agree to work together to submit one or more applications for federal and/or non-federal postdoctoral fellowship awards before the end of the second year. Continuation of the award for a third year of funding is not contingent on success in these applications, but writing such proposals is an important part of training for future in science.
Level and Duration of Funding
Current PIs may request up to $100,000 per year for up to three years. This is intended to cover the full salary and fringe benefits of the selected postdoctoral research associate, travel and other professional development opportunities for the postdoctoral research associate, and the associated indirect costs. Funds may also be used to purchase additional lab supplies needed to accommodate the research plan but are limited to $10,000 per year.
PIs will be required to provide annual updates to SFARI on the new lab member’s productivity as part of their required project progress reports.
SFARI PIs are eligible to apply for this supplement if there are at least 18 months remaining on their SFARI-funded project. Funding is restricted to institutions in the United States. Eligible postdoctoral research associate candidates must be U.S. citizens.
Application and Review Process:
SFARI will set aside funding for up to 10 SEED Awards, to be awarded during the 2020–2021 academic year. Applications will be submitted and reviewed on a rolling basis until all funding has been awarded. Funding notifications will be sent within seven to ten days of application submission.
Applications should include the following material:
- Mentorship Plan: Summary of how the selected postdoctoral research associate will be mentored by the PI and within the PI’s lab. This should include information regarding the PI and the PI’s institution’s demonstrated interest and track record in supporting underrepresented minority groups.
- Research Plan: Brief summary of how the selected postdoctoral research associate will contribute to the funded SFARI project. SFARI PIs may also propose new or potential revisions to their project’s original aims.
- Budget Justification: Brief outline of how funds will be used.
- Candidate Biosketch: A biosketch or CV from the selected candidate.
- Candidate Statement: A confirmation of eligibility from the candidate along with a brief statement of their future career goals.
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 SEED Award. For assistance, please call 800-875-2562 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Many of the greatest ideas and discoveries come from a diverse mix of minds, backgrounds and experiences. The Simons Foundation is committed to grantmaking that inspires and supports greater diversity and inclusiveness by cultivating a funding environment that ensures representation of all identities and differences and equitable access to information and resources for all applicants and grantees.
The Simons Foundation provides equal opportunities to all applicants for funding without regard to race, religion, color, age, sex, pregnancy, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic disposition, neurodiversity, disability, veteran status or any other protected category under federal, state and local law. The foundation also funds programs directed at supporting scientists from disadvantaged backgrounds or underrepresented groups, often working closely with professional societies and other funding agencies.
The Simons Foundation uses an electronic grants submission process. All interested grant applicants must submit their applications online through proposalCENTRAL.
$100,000 per year for up to three years
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all supplements have been awarded.
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.
Application Requirements and Submission Instructions
To submit an application, the following proposalCENTRAL sections must be completed:
- Title Page: Please provide the project title of your current SFARI award for which you are applying for supplemental funding.
- Download Templates & Instructions: The following templates are available for download:
- SEED 2020 RFA Application Instructions
- Simons Foundation Policies and Procedures
- SEED 2020 RFA Announcement
- Mentorship Plan
- Research Plan
- Budget Justification Template
- Biosketch Template (if needed)
- Candidate Statement
- 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.
- Applicant/PI: The principal investigator (PI) should be listed here. For grants with multiple PIs, the contact PI should be listed here.
- 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.
- Budget Period Detail: The following information is required for the Budget Period Detail section. This section should only include costs associated with the supplemental funding request.
- Award start date: Please indicate the start date of the funding year in which you wish to receive the first installment of the supplement.
- Personnel: Please provide the name, role, appointment type, percent effort, institutional base salary, requested salary, fringe rate and requested fringe for the selected postdoctoral research associate, or any additional personnel costs associated with the supplement.
- 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.
- Biospecimens: If the supplement request includes the use of not previously budgeted 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.
- Budget Summary: The Budget Summary will populate from the saved Budget Period Detail section.
- 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.
- Proposal Attachments: The following documents are to be uploaded in the Proposal Attachments section, where they are also available for download.
- Mentorship Plan
- Research Plan
- Budget Justification
- Candidate Biosketch
- Candidate Statement
- Signed Signature Page
- 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 four (Personal Data for Applications).
- 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.
- 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
- Submit: You will be unable to submit if you have not provided all the required information. If your submission is successful, you will receive a confirmation message on the screen and a confirmation email will be sent to the applicant.
Am I eligible to apply for this funding?
Principal Investigators from institutions in the United States with a current SFARI grant that has at least 18 months remaining on the project are eligible to apply for this supplement.Can foreign institutions apply for this funding?
No, foreign institutions may not apply.What are the eligibility requirements for the postdoctoral research associate?
The selected postdoctoral research associate must be a new lab member from an American underrepresented minority group. For the purposes of this supplement, eligible groups include the following: African American/Black; Latin American/Hispanic; Native American/Alaskan Native; Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander (including Filipino). The postdoctoral research associate must also be a United States citizen.
What is the deadline for submitting an application?
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all 10 supplements for the 2020–2021 academic year have been awarded. Funding notifications will be sent within seven to ten days of application submission.Where do I submit the proposal?
Log in to proposalCENTRAL (pC) 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?
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?
No, the Simons Foundation accepts only applications submitted online through proposalCENTRAL (pC).Can someone else (assistant, staff member, etc.) submit my application for me?
Yes, you can add users with administrator access to the pC application so someone other than the principal investigator (PI) can edit and submit the application.Does the PI need to sign the signature page?
No, only the signing official is required to sign the signature page.Where is the SUBMIT button?
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 email@example.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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.Is there a confirmation email when I submit?
A confirmation email is sent upon submission of the application. Please contact email@example.com if you submitted your application and have not received a confirmation email within 10 minutes. Make sure that spam filters allow emails from firstname.lastname@example.org. 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?
Before you can make changes to your submitted application, you must first contact the Simons Foundation. Please email email@example.com or call (646) 654-0066. Applications can only be changed prior to the deadline.Is validating my proposal the same as submitting it?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you do not receive confirmation and do not see your application in the submitted tab or with the status changed to submitted.
What should be included in the Mentorship Plan?
The Mentorship Plan should be a summary of how the selected postdoctoral research associate will be mentored by the PI and within the PI’s lab. This should include information regarding the PI and the PI’s institution’s demonstrated interest and track record in supporting underrepresented minority groups. This should not exceed one (1) page of single-spaced, font size 11 text with 0.5” margins.What should be included in the Research Plan?
The Research Plan should be a summary of how the selected postdoctoral research associate will contribute to the funded SFARI project. SFARI PI’s may also propose new or potential revisions to their project’s original aims. This should not exceed one (1) page of single-spaced, font size 11 text with 0.5” margins.Does the postdoctoral research associate’s biosketch or CV need to be on the provided template?
No, we will accept the postdoctoral research associate’s biosketch or CV in any format that they have available.What should be included in the Candidate Statement?
The Candidate Statement should be a confirmation of eligibility from the candidate along with a brief statement of their future career goals. It should not exceed a half (1/2) page of single-spaced, font size 11 text with 0.5” margins.Are references, figures and figure legends included in the Research Plan page limit? How should they be included?
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.
Are indirect costs included in the budget limits?
Yes. The total supplement amount, including indirect costs, will not exceed $100,000 per year. 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.What should be included in the budget?
The budget should only include the costs associated with the supplement. For example, the budget does not need to include details pertaining to the PI’s current SFARI grant. The budget section should not exceed $100,000 per year.