Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative: Explorer Award


Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI)


This award program is designed to enhance our existing support of autism research by providing timely resources to enable focused experiments highly relevant to our mission. A deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying autism spectrum disorders or potential therapeutic approaches will require investigation at multiple levels, including but not limited to studies focused on gene discovery, molecular mechanisms, circuits, anatomy, and cognition and behavior. We will consider proposals at all of these levels.

Explorer Awards are intended to provide resources to support exploratory experiments that will strengthen hypotheses and lead to the formulation of competitive applications for subsequent larger-scale funding by SFARI or other organizations. Innovative, high-risk/high-impact proposals are encouraged. We especially encourage applications from investigators who are new to the field of autism, but who have expertise that could be brought to bear on this complex disorder.


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. There are no citizenship or country requirements

Funding Availability

Up to $70,000 including indirect costs

Indirect Costs


Project Duration

One year

Special Notes

US Public Health Service (PHS) Federal Conflict of Interest Requirements (FCOI)

If sponsor is listed in Appendix A of US PHS FCOI Requirements, include the following:

Applications to this program must be accompanied by a Significant Financial Interest Disclosure Form (see Appendix B of the US PHS FCOI Requirements). Please refer to the information posted on the Office of Research Services website for more information on researcher responsibilities under the US PHS FCOIRequirements


If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

Internal Deadline

One week prior to submission to sponsor. Applicant to please submit a complete OR-5 form and copy of your application to

External Deadline

Rolling deadline. 

More information can be found on the Explorer Awards RFA website.

Applications are considered on a rolling basis, with a response time as early as 30 days.

How to Apply

Applications must be completed electronically and submitted using forms provided at proposalCENTRAL. Please log in as an applicant, go to the grant opportunities tab, scroll to simons foundation and click apply now for the SFARI explorer award program.

Information For Co-applicants

If you need to meet a deadline set by the lead institution for this opportunity, please ensure that you provide the Office of Research with at least 5 days in advance of the lead institution’s deadline to review the application, or your proposed component of the project. Please be in touch with the Office of Research (contact information below) ahead of the deadline if it looks like it will be difficult for you to submit all the required documentation on time (i.e. budget, proposal, OR-5 Form).

For Questions, please contact

Administrative inquiries:

Scientific inquiries:


Office of Research

Ornella McCarron, Grants Officer
Office of Research Services
519-824-4120 x52832

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