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Grants to USA, Canada, and International Investigators for Research on Autism Spectrum Disorders

Human Cognitive and Behavioral Science Grant


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI)
Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

Geographic Focus
USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);   Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);   Northern Mariana Islands (USA);
USA Compact Free Associations:The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)
International, Israel and Canada.

Important Dates
Deadline: 05/04/23 12:00 PM EDT Save

Grant Description
Grants to USA, Canada, and International investigators affiliated with qualified institutions for research on autism spectrum disorders. Funding is intended for original, clinically-relevant research projects that will advance the treatment, diagnosis, and foundational understanding of ASD.

The Human Cognitive and Behavioral Science RFA prioritizes research that produces foundational knowledge about the neurobehavioral differences associated with ASD. These projects are expected to inform or relate to the development and refinement of tools needed for translational efforts, such as biomarkers and outcome measures. Special emphasis is placed on objective, quantitative measures that may be used in conjunction with standardized clinical measures and genomic information to better characterize phenotypic and neurobiological variability within and across individuals with ASD.

Three tracks are offered within this RFA solicitation: Explorer, Expansion and Collaboration. The Explorer track is appropriate for early-stage projects in which establishing feasibility and proof-of-concept are the most relevant outcomes of the grant period. The Expansion track is appropriate for more mature projects with evidence of feasibility and preliminary validity, for which goals such as scalability, generalizability and/or more comprehensive measure validation are now the most relevant translational outcomes. The Collaboration track is appropriate for multi-lab, cross-institutional collaborative projects. Collaborative proposals should be built around transdisciplinary teams tackling a critical issue in the neurobehavioral differences of autism, with clear translational implications. Collaborations among different institutions are strongly encouraged. SFARI will consider funding a limited number of Collaboration proposals. As such, the proposal must provide a strong rationale for how synergies across multiple disciplines will be leveraged.

The Foundation encourages studies that capitalize on approaches that are informed by recent advances in computer vision, machine learning and speech processing, as well as psychophysics and non-invasive neuroscience techniques (e.g., EEG and MRI). SFARI has a strong interest in developmentally focused studies in areas that include, but are not limited to, communicative, social and ritualistic/stereotyped behavior, as well as sensory and motor function. SFARI also recognizes the importance of domains of function, such as attention, learning and memory, and sleep, in influencing core ASD diagnostic domains. While applications may propose laboratory-based measures, the Foundation is especially interested in real-world, scalable and quantitative measures of behavior (e.g., wearable devices and other methods of digital phenotyping).

The Foundation also encourages proposals that not only quantify specific phenotypes but also may contribute to the development of scalable innovative technologies for improving interventions and supports in humans. Successful applications would include a clear rationale for how the digital technology could be deployed to increase, maintain, or improve quantifiable functional outcomes in individuals with autism; for example, machine learning approaches that could amplify measurable gains from intensive behavioral interventions would be of interest.


Additional Eligibility Criteria
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.

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.

Principal investigators (PIs) who do not have substantial ASD clinical expertise should include a close collaborator with such expertise on their grant application (e.g., multi-PI application).

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.

Postdoctoral associates may not apply as PIs even if your institution is willing to submit an application on your behalf.

SFARI considers the following as out-of-scope for this RFA: studies with a primary focus on developing new clinical rating scales, or survey-based assessments, or online adaptations of traditional paper and pencil tests or existing assessments, such as cognitive (IQ) or social-cognitive tests. In addition, applications with a primary focus on psychosocial factors, or those proposing interventional clinical trials or treatments are discouraged. Applications primarily focused on infrastructure or recruitment support of cohorts would also be considered unresponsive.

Pre-Proposal Conference
Informational Session for Potential Applicants

The Simons Foundation will host an informational session on the scientific content of the RFA with members of the SFARI science team on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. ET Click here to register:

Pre-Application Information
Important dates:
- Application Available: February 28, 2023
- Informational Zoom Meeting: March 7, 2023
- The deadline for application submission is May 4, 2023, 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time
- Award Notification: Late August 2023
- Award Start Dates: October 1, 2023, November 1, 2023, December 1, 2023

Applications must be submitted via the Simons Award Manager (SAM). Please click on the Funding Opportunities icon and navigate to the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative – 2023 Human Cognitive and Behavioral Science award call. Click the Create Application button to begin. Applications should be started and submitted under the applicant’s own account in SAM.

Investigators may submit multiple applications on different topics. However, it is highly unlikely that two awards will be made to the same PI within one RFA cycle.

Policies and Procedures:

Informational videos on submitting applications:

Estimated Size of Grant
Explorer: The total budget is $500,000 or less, inclusive of 20 percent indirect costs.
Expansion: The total budget is $900,000 or less, inclusive of 20 percent indirect costs.
Collaboration: The total budget is up to $750,000 per lab, for up to four (4) labs

Term of Contract
Explorer: Period of up to two (2) years.
Expansion: Period of up to three (3) years.
Collaboration: Period of up to three (3) years.

Contact Information
Apply Online:

Contacts: 646-654-0066

Scientific inquiries:

Administrative inquiries:

Simons collections inquiries:

Technical assistance:

Simons Foundation
160 Fifth Avenue, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10010

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