OVERVIEW: The Simons Foundation awards brain research grants out of its Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI), which focuses on autism spectrum disorder research. The foundation also awards Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain postdoctoral fellowships.
IP TAKE: The Simons Foundation is willing to take risks in its grantmaking by funding dynamic research that pushes boundaries in autism disorder and neuroscience research.
PROFILE: The main grantmaking vehicle for neuroscience research at the Simons Foundation is the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative. The overall goal of this program is to improve the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders in the main research areas of cognition and behavior; gene discovery; and molecular mechanisms. SFARI currently offers three different grants:
- Explorer Awards - These grants are awarded to researchers who are conducting exploratory experiments with the hope of strengthening hypotheses related to autism spectrum disorders as a basis for future funding applications. Explorer grants are awarded over a period of one year for a maximum of $70,000.
- Pilot Awards - These grants support small-scale or early stage projects that are building momentum based on preliminary data. Pilot grants are awarded over two-years at a maximum of $125,000 per year.
- Research Awards - These grants support high-impact research on experimental hypotheses for which preliminary data has already been gathered. Research grants are awarded over three years at a maximum of $250,000 per year. On rare occasions, SFARI will grant research awards of up to $350,000 per year for translational projects, if the grantee's budget justifies the increased cost.
The Simons Foundation also operates the Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain (SCGB), which offers postdoctoral fellowships for those holding (or will hold) a PhD, MD, or equivalent degree. SCGB is interested in candidates whose work is “at the interface of theory and experiment on the nature, role and mechanisms of the neural activity that produces cognition,” and is particularly interested in work that involves the “recording and perturbation of population neural data at cellular resolution and the application of advanced statistical analysis and modeling to such data.”
SCGB fellows are appointed for three years and receive an annually stipend of $60,000 the first year; $63,000 the second; and $66,150 the third. Simons also offers an additional stipend of up to $15,000 for health insurance and up to $5,000 for small equipment, supplies publications, and travel.
SCGB accepts unsolicited applications and funding opportunities are announced yearly. SFARI does not accept unsolicited applications.
- James Simons, Chairman
- Marilyn Simons, President
- Louis Reichardt, Director, SFARI
- Gerald Fischbach, Chief Scientist
- Wendy Chung, Director of Clinical Research
- John Spiro, Deputy Scientific Director
- Richard McFarland, Grants Manager