Simons Foundation: 2024 Autism Pilot Award

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.

The goal of the Pilot Award is to provide early support for exploratory ideas, particularly those with novel hypotheses. Appropriate projects for this mechanism include those considered higher risk but with the potential for transformative results, including work in human subjects. Projects that represent continuations of ongoing work (whether funded by SFARI or other funders) are not appropriate for this mechanism.

This funding mechanism is particularly suitable for investigators who are new to the autism field, though we encourage those new to the field to consult with experts in autism research to ensure their projects are relevant to the human condition.

In particular, we encourage applications that propose research to link genetic or other ASD risk factors to molecular, cellular, circuit or behavioral mechanisms and set the stage for development of novel interventions. Please read more about SFARI’s scientific perspectives. We also strongly advise applicants to familiarize themselves with the currently funded projects and resources that SFARI supports and to think about how their proposals might complement existing efforts.

The total budget of a Pilot Award is $300,000 or less, including 20 percent indirect costs, over a period of up to two (2) years. Projects proposing research in human subjects may request a higher budget (up to $500,000 over 2 years), but must include a compelling justification, particularly for the required level of effort of all key personnel.

To be eligible, 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.