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

Bridge to Independence (BTI) Award Program

GrantWatch ID# 173042
Agency: Foundation

Funding Source
Simons Foundation - Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI)
Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

Geographic Focus
USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);   Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);   Northern Mariana Islands (USA);
USA Compact Free Associations:The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)
Canada:Alberta;   British Columbia;   Manitoba;   New Brunswick;   Newfoundland and Labrador;   Northwest Territories;   Nova Scotia;   Nunavut;   Ontario;   Prince Edward Island;   Quebec;   Saskatchewan;   Yukon;
International, Israel and Canada.

Important Dates
Deadline: 02/16/23 12:00 PM EST Save

Grant Description
Grants to USA, Canada, and International 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. 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 cycle.

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.

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.


  • Others (see text field entitled "Additional Eligibility Criteria" for clarification)

Additional Eligibility Criteria
New for 2023: The award program has removed the requirement that the tenure-track position be at a U.S. or Canadian institution. Additionally, please note that beginning with the 2024 SFARI BTI RFA, applicants will be limited to one application resubmission (a total of two submissions to the BTI RFA).

- 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 has a postdoctoral fellowship.
- 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.

Applicants must be actively seeking a tenure-track position at an institution of higher education during the 2023-2024 academic year.

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 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 2023 RFA decision notifications, which for the 2023 application cycle will be sent in June 2023.

There are no citizenship requirements.

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

Pre-Proposal Conference
An RFA informational Zoom meeting, featuring SFARI science staff and current SFARI BTI fellows, will be held on December 8, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. EST. Prospective applicants may register here:

For instructions on how to submit an application through our new grants management system SAM, the Simons Foundation will hold an informational session on January 12, 2023 at 11:30 a.m. EST. Click here to register:

Pre-Application Information
The deadline for receipt of the first-stage application is 12:00pm EST on February 16, 2023.

Important Dates:
- SAM opens for applications: November 29, 2022
- RFA informational Zoom session: December 8, 2022
- First-stage applications and letters of recommendation due: February 16, 2023
- Finalists invited for interviews: May 8, 2023
- Virtual interviews: June 1 and 2, 2023
- BTI fellows notified of award: June 2023

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


How to Apply:


Estimated Size of Grant
Fellows will receive up to two (2) years of postdoctoral fellowship support with an annual salary of $70,000, fringe benefits, an annual resource and professional development allowance of $10,000, and indirect costs (limited to 20 percent of modified total direct costs, see Simons Foundation policies) followed by a commitment of $600,000 over three (3) years, including indirect costs (limited to 20 percent of modified total direct costs, see Simons Foundation policies) activated upon assumption of a tenure-track research professorship.

Term of Contract
- The program period is three (3) years.
- Fellows have 24 months to secure a tenure-track professorship at an academic institution and submit a second-stage approval application.

Contact Information
Submit LOIs through ProposalCENTRAL:

Scientific inquiries:

Administrative inquiries:

Simons collections inquiries:

Technical Assistance:

Simons Foundation
160 Fifth Avenue, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10010
T: 646.654.0066
F: 646.654.0220

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