SFARI -- Human Cognitive and Behavioral Science – Request for Applications

Funding Agency:
Simons Foundation

Grants awarded through this RFA are intended to produce foundational knowledge about the neurobehavioral differences associated with ASD. Many of these projects are expected to inform or relate to the development or 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 triangulate phenotypic and neurobiological variability within and across individuals with ASD.

Two tracks are offered within this RFA solicitation: Explorer and Expansion. The Explorer track is appropriate for early-stage projects where establishing feasibility and proof-of-concept are the most relevant outcomes of the grant period. The total budget is $500,000 or less, inclusive of 20 percent indirect costs, over a period of up to two (2) years. 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 ecological validity are now the most relevant translational outcomes. The total budget is $900,000 or less, inclusive of 20 percent indirect costs, over a period of up to three (3) years.

Deadline: April 25, 2022

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

The Human Cognitive and Behavioral Science RFA prioritizes research that produces foundational knowledge about the neurobehavioral differences associated with ASD. Many of 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 triangulate phenotypic and neurobiological variability within and across individuals with ASD.

In particular, we encourage 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. Applications may propose either laboratory-based or real-world measures of behavior (i.e., wearables/”digital phenotyping”).

We encourage proposals conceptualized within rigorously defined theoretical/computational or neurobiologically-grounded frameworks. Importantly, proposals addressing current theories of autism should include experiments to directly examine falsifiable hypotheses. We also welcome studies that deepen our understanding of cognitive constructs that are often modeled in experimental animals. These may include, but are not limited to, learning and memory, attention, repetitive behaviors, stereotypy, sensory processing and motor function. For applications that wish to conduct parallel studies in both humans and in experimental models (e.g., mouse models, induced pluripotent stem cells), please contact scienceRFA@simonsfoundation.org for further guidance from the SFARI science team.

Eligibility Requirements

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.

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

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.

Amount Description

Two tracks are offered within this RFA solicitation: Explorer and Expansion. The Explorer track is appropriate for early-stage projects where establishing feasibility and proof-of-concept are the most relevant outcomes of the grant period. The total budget is $500,000 or less, inclusive of 20 percent indirect costs, over a period of up to two (2) years. 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 ecological validity are now the most relevant translational outcomes. The total budget is $900,000 or less, inclusive of 20 percent indirect costs, over a period of up to three (3) years.

Funding Type

Grant

Eligibility

Faculty

Category

Medical
Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

April 25, 2022