SPARK Research Match Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity – Request for applications

The SPARK Research Match Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity RFA aims to address historic disparities in research participation by Black or African American individuals by soliciting studies on autism that recruit Black or African American participants. Funding will provide per-person participant incentive (e-gift cards) for participation in projects that utilize SPARK Research Match to recruit participants into new research studies.

The maximum budget is $20,000 in per-person incentive funding per study.

Maximum Budget

Total in per-person incentive funding (e-gift cards) $20,000

Important Dates
  • Deadline for submitting applications on SFARI Base
  • Decisions regarding applications
  • Anticipated initiation of recruitment for projects
    Summer 2021 or later
Maximum Budget

Total in per-person incentive funding (e-gift cards) $20,000

Important Dates
  • Deadline for submitting applications on SFARI Base
  • Decisions regarding applications
  • Anticipated initiation of recruitment for projects
    Summer 2021 or later
Contact Info
Read More
Maximum Budget

Total in per-person incentive funding (e-gift cards) $20,000

Important Dates
  • Deadline for submitting applications on SFARI Base
  • Decisions regarding applications
  • Anticipated initiation of recruitment for projects
    Summer 2021 or later
Contact Info

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.

SPARK (Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge) is the world’s largest research study on autism. SPARK’s goal is to accelerate autism research and discovery by building an online research community of thousands of individuals with ASD and their family members. Participation in SPARK is simple, free and open to any individual living in the United States with a professional diagnosis of ASD. SPARK participants can consent to be contacted about other research opportunities in the future through SPARK Research Match.

Purpose

SPARK Research Match Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity (DEI) request for applications (RFA) encourages and supports applications for SPARK Research Match studies from principal investigators to ensure SPARK research opportunities are available to Black or African American participants.

Objective

People of color have been historically underrepresented in research studies for a variety of reasons. In the Black community, one reason for lower rates of participation includes historical abuse (e.g., the Tuskegee study), which has resulted in mistrust of research. In the SPARK cohort, there are fewer Black participants enrolled, and participation in SPARK Research Match for Black participants is low. While Black individuals are invited to participate in SPARK Research Match studies at similar rates, the response rates are lower. From the launch of research matching in June 2017 through August 2020, only 35 percent of invited Black participants participated in at least one research study. Underrepresentation may mean that historically disadvantaged communities are unable to benefit, or benefit at the same level as other groups, from participation in and findings from scientific research.

The SPARK Research Match DEI request for applications (RFA) aims to address historic disparities in research participation by Black or African American individuals by soliciting studies on autism that recruit Black or African American participants. Proposals may be on any topic related to autism provided that the study prioritizes participation of (e.g., by recruiting 50 percent or more of the total study participants), or only recruits Black or African American participants.

Type of Funding

Funding will provide per-person participant incentive (e-gift cards) for participation in projects that utilize SPARK Research Match to recruit participants into new research studies. Funds will not be transferred directly to the institution but rather will be provided as part of the workflow built for the project. For example, for an online survey study, SPARK Research Match would build the surveys into an online workflow, and after completion, participants would receive an e-gift card.

Researchers may apply for a maximum of $20,000 in per-person incentive funding per study.

Program Description

SPARK Research Match is a service that aims to expedite research and scientific discovery by linking researchers outside of the SPARK study with SPARK participants. Approved researchers work with SPARK’s dedicated Research Match team to finalize study materials, build the online research components, if applicable (i.e., surveys), and invite eligible participants. The Research Match team monitors the research, which may involve sharing authorized participant contact information with the study research team, collecting data for researcher surveys and/or performing data linkages to SPARK data. Researchers are required to share their Research Match data back with SPARK, and in this way the SPARK database is enhanced over time for future research. The Research Match team also works with the SPARK communications team to develop lay-friendly summaries of completed, published research, which are sent directly to study participants and posted on the Discover SPARK webpage for the SPARK community.

For more information about SPARK Research Match, please review SPARK Recruitment Process Document.

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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

Total in per-person incentive funding (e-gift cards) $20,000

Important Dates
  • Deadline for submitting applications on SFARI Base
  • Decisions regarding applications
  • Anticipated initiation of recruitment for projects
    Summer 2021 or later
Contact Info

Application and Review Process

Applications must be submitted through SFARI Base. See ‘Instructions for Submission’ below.

Applications should include the following material:

  • Research application — questions include title, abstract, funding source, proposal summary, surveys (if applicable), inclusion and exclusion criteria, sample size and justification, and information about incentive (if applicable);
  • Documentation of IRB approval;
  • Proposal, consent form, and additional documentation (e.g., recruitment materials, summary report templates);
  • Information about previous work on diversity, collaborations with Black-led organizations or community groups, and any other information that would demonstrate the applicant’s commitment to issues of importance to the Black community (1–2 pages).

Applications will be reviewed on the basis of alignment with SPARK’s mission to advance our understanding of autism, potential to engage participants, benefit to participants and scientific merit. Special consideration will be given to projects that address topics or issues of high impact and/or address a specific need for Black communities.

Researchers should include information (e.g., as an attached document) about previous work in the area of diversity/inclusion, providing documentation about relationships with organizations and/or groups engaging with the Black community, and any information about consultation or other work with stakeholders from the Black community that informed the development of the research study.

Instructions for Submission

Applications must be submitted through SFARI Base. On SFARI Base, follow these steps:

  1. Create an account to request SPARK resources including access to Research Match.
  2. Submit project information and an IRB approval letter.
  3. Place a request for Research Match with the SPARK cohort by completing the application. Please include a sentence in the additional information section of the application that you are applying for the SPARK DEI RFA. You will receive a confirmation email when your request is successfully submitted.

Please note that, if not already completed, your institution must have an executed Research Distribution Agreement (RDA) with the Simons Foundation before you will be able to access any datasets or launch your Research Match project. The RDA execution process will be initiated upon approval of your first resource request. Details about SFARI Base and the RDA can be found here.

For questions about SFARI Base or the application process, please contact collections@sfari.org.

For more details on the research match process, please refer to the SPARK Recruitment Process Document.

Maximum Budget

$20,000 total in per-person incentive funding (e-gift cards)

Important Dates

  • Deadline for submitting applications on SFARI Base is March 31, 2021. All applications must be received by this date.
  • SPARK Participant Access Committee will meet in April to review applications.
  • Decisions regarding applications will be communicated no later than May 7, 2021, with project work to commence shortly thereafter.
  • Anticipated initiation of recruitment for projects estimated as Summer 2021 or later.

Contact Information

For questions regarding Research Match or technical questions about SFARI Base, please contact collections@sfari.org.

Read More
Maximum Budget

Total in per-person incentive funding (e-gift cards) $20,000

Important Dates
  • Deadline for submitting applications on SFARI Base
  • Decisions regarding applications
  • Anticipated initiation of recruitment for projects
    Summer 2021 or later
Contact Info
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