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Bridge to Independence (BTI) Award Program

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

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Simons Foundation - Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI)

Deadline Date:

04/12/21 5:00 PM EST

Description:

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Grants to USA and Canada postdoctoral researchers to support 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. The annual RFA is aimed at Ph.D. and M.D.–holding scientists 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.

In addition to the monetary value of the grant, the BTI Award program provides opportunities for career development, including networking with other BTI fellows and senior investigators in the SFARI community, through the annual BTI fellows retreat and attendance at SFARI science meetings. The program also provides valuable support during the fellow’s transition process, including guidance during the job negotiation process.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 173042

Estimated Size of Grant:

The principal investigator (PI) will receive research support at a fixed rate of $495,000 over three (3) years, including 20 percent for indirect costs.

Term of Contract:

The program period is three (3) years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligibility:
- Applicants must hold a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent degree
- Applicants must have fewer than six (6) years of postdoctoral or otherwise mentored training. Given the profound impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the research community, the 2020 calendar year will not be counted towards the program’s postdoctoral term limits.
- 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 research grant (e.g., R01) or SFARI grant (e.g, Pilot, Research, and Targeted awards) as the principal investigator (PI).

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 his/her independent research
- The applicant has research space dedicated to his/her own research.
- The applicant is eligible to apply for independent research funding as the PI of an NIH research grant (e.g., R01) or SFARI grant (e.g, Pilot, Research, and Targeted awards).

- Applicants must be actively seeking a tenure-track position at a U.S. or Canadian institution of higher education during the 2021-2022 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 for Medical Scientists
- American Academy of Neurology Career Development Award
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute Hanna H. Gray fellowship

You 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.
- There are no citizenship requirements.

- Funds may not be used toward the PI’s salary but may provide salary support for other laboratory personnel and other typical grant budget expenditures.

Pre-Application Information:

- proposalCENTRAL opens for LOIs January 11, 2021
- Letters of recommendation and LOIs due April 12, 2021 at 5 p.m. EST.
- BTI fellows notified of award July 2021

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:
BTI fellows will be notified of their status by July 2021. 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/

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

FAQs: https://www.sfari.org/grant/bridge-to-independence-award-request-for-applications/?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/default.asp

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

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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