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Grants to USA and Canada Postdoctoral Researchers to
Investigate the Diagnosis and Treatment of Autism

Bridge to Independence (BTI) Award Program

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Simons Foundation - Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI)

Conf. Date:

01/10/22

Deadline Date:

02/28/22 5:00 PM EST

Description:

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Grants to USA and Canada postdoctoral researchers for research related to the treatment and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders. The purpose of this program is to invest in the upcoming generation of autism investigators by identifying talented early-career scientists interested in autism research and facilitating their transition to independent research careers. The BTI Award program welcomes applications that span the breadth of science that SFARI normally supports, including genetics, molecular mechanisms, circuits and systems, and clinical science.

The BTI Award program engages talented early-career scientists in autism research by facilitating their transition to research independence and providing grant funding at the start of their professorships. Request for applications (RFA) open each year and are aimed at scientists with a Ph.D. and/or M.D. who are currently in training positions but intend to seek tenure-track research faculty positions during the upcoming academic year. 

Applications from groups that have been historically underrepresented or excluded in the biomedical workforce, including but not limited to racial and ethnic groups, sexual orientation and gender identities, individuals with mental/physical disabilities and those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, are especially encouraged.

Importantly, although eligible applicants must be currently in a postdoctoral training position, the BTI Award itself is not a training fellowship but a research grant to newly appointed faculty. The program’s selection process is uniquely designed to enhance the BTI fellows’ job prospects by providing a letter that specifies SFARI financial commitment to the research project once the BTI awardee has secured a suitable faculty position.

While the Foundation encourages applications from scientists who are working on autism-related projects, it would like to stress that this award is also open to researchers who are not currently working on autism but who are interested in starting research projects in this area and who have expertise that could be brought to bear on this complex condition.

During their transition year, BTI fellows also receive a designated gift through the SFARI Bridge to Independence Professional Development fund and valuable feedback from SFARI science staff during the job negotiation process. Throughout their tenure in the BTI program, fellows also participate in a variety of community building activities, such as professional development workshops, and participation in annual BTI fellows retreats and SFARI science meetings.

It is expected that proposed budgets reflect the accurate proportion of resources (e.g., personnel, supplies, equipment, travel) needed to complete the SFARI-funded project. Funds may be used toward salary and tuition support for laboratory personnel.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 173042

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Fellows receive a commitment of $495,000 over three years, activated upon assumption of a tenure-track professorship.
- During their transition year, BTI fellows also receive a $10,000 designated gift

Term of Contract:

- The program period is three (3) years.
- Once the award letter has been sent, funding may begin on the first of the month, up to one (1) year after the award letter has been sent.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligibility:
New for 2022: The award program has removed the applicant eligibility limit on postdoctoral training years.

- Applicants must hold a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent degree
- Applicants must be currently in non-independent, mentored, training positions, as recognized by their institution. The following guidelines should be used to distinguish independent from non-independent positions (modified from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) K99/R00 program announcement eligibility section):

Evidence for non-independence may include:
- The applicant’s research is entirely funded by another investigator’s grants.
- The applicant’s research is conducted entirely in another investigator’s assigned space.
- According to institutional policy, the applicant is not allowed to submit an application for an NIH R01 research project grant.

Conversely, evidence for independence, and therefore lack of eligibility, includes:
- The applicant has a full-time faculty position. Exception: A clinician who holds a faculty member position in order to fulfill their clinical responsibilities but who does not hold an independent research faculty position may still be eligible. Such individuals should contact the foundation to confirm their eligibility prior to submitting their applications.
- The applicant received a start-up package for support of the applicant’s independent research.
- The applicant has research space dedicated to the applicant’s own research.
- The applicant is eligible to apply for independent research funding as the PI of an NIH R01 research project grant.

- Applicants must be actively seeking a tenure-track position at a U.S. or Canadian institution of higher education during the 2022-2023 academic year.

- Applicants are not eligible if they are recipients of other career development awards with similar budgetary scopes as the SFARI Bridge to Independence Award. These include, but are not limited to:
NIH K99/R00 (please note that other K awardees may be eligible, e.g., recipients of K01 and K08)
Burroughs-Wellcome Fund Career Award
American Academy of Neurology Career Development Award
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Hanna H. Gray Fellowship

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact SFARI before applying if you believe your career development award is comparable to the BTI Award but it is not listed above.

- Applicants must not have accepted a formal offer for a tenure-track faculty position prior to 2022 RFA decision notifications, which for the 2022 application cycle will be sent in June 2022.
- There are no citizenship requirements.

- Please note that the foundation does not consider a Doctor of Psychology degree, e.g., Psy.D., as equivalent to a Doctor of Philosophy degree, Ph.D.

- Funds may not be used toward the PI’s salary.
- In addition, since it is expected that all awardees will receive institutional start-up packages, budget allocations for general lab equipment, such as freezers and refrigerators is strongly discouraged.

Pre-proposal Conference:

An RFA informational Zoom meeting, featuring SFARI science staff and current SFARI BTI fellows, will be held on January 10, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. EST.

Prospective applicants may register here:
https://www.sfari.org/event/sfari-2022-bridge-to-independence-award-rfa-informational-session/

Pre-Application Information:

Important Dates:
- proposalCENTRAL opens for LOIs: December 6, 2021
- RFA informational webinar: January 10, 2022
- Letters of recommendation and LOIs due: February 28, 2022 at 5 p.m. EST.
- BTI fellows notified of award: June 2022

For more on the application timeline, see diagram: https://www.sfari.org/grant/bridge-to-independence-award-request-for-applications/?tab=rfa

All potential applicants with questions about eligibility are strongly encouraged to contact SFARI before submitting an application.

Letters of recommendation:
Three (3) letters of recommendation are required from current or former mentors, or other senior scientists who have substantial familiarity with your scientific career thus far. At least one letter of recommendation must be from a current or former scientific mentor. Confidential letters must be submitted through proposalCENTRAL (see instructions available for download in proposalCENTRAL).

Letters of Intent:
LOIs must be completed electronically and submitted using forms provided at proposalCENTRAL.

Fellows:
2022 BTI fellows will be notified of their status by June 2022. For more information on this stage, see Fellows tab: https://www.sfari.org/grant/bridge-to-independence-award-request-for-applications/?tab=rfa

Approval application:
To activate their grant, fellows must submit an approval application. SFARI will review these documents internally with the intention of funding all fellows who have secured sufficient institutional resources and academic privileges to complete the BTI project. If these are deemed acceptable, a grant funding letter will be sent.

Grant Policies and Procedures: https://www.sfari.org/funding-opportunities/policies-and-procedures/

RFA: https://www.sfari.org/grant/bridge-to-independence-award-request-for-applications/?tab=awardees#tab-rfa

How to Apply: https://www.sfari.org/grant/bridge-to-independence-award-request-for-applications/?tab=awardees#tab-how-to-apply

FAQs: https://www.sfari.org/grant/bridge-to-independence-award-request-for-applications/?tab=awardees#tab-faq

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Submit LOIs through ProposalCENTRAL:
https://proposalcentral.com/

Contacts:
Scientific inquiries:
sciencerfa@simonsfoundation.org
646-654-0066

Administrative inquiries:
sfarigrants@simonsfoundation.org
646-654-0066

Simons collections inquiries:
collections@sfari.org
646-654-0066

proposalCENTRAL:
pcsupport@altum.com
800-875-2562

Simons Foundation
160 Fifth Avenue, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10010
T: 646.654.0066
F: 646.654.0220
info@simonsfoundation.org

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

Array ( )

Canada: Alberta;   British Columbia;   Manitoba;   New Brunswick;   Newfoundland and Labrador;   Northwest Territories;   Nova Scotia;   Nunavut;   Ontario;   Prince Edward Island;   Quebec;   Saskatchewan;   Yukon;

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