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2021 Genomics of ASD: Pathways to Genetic Therapies

Grants to USA, Canada, and International Researchers to Investigate
the Genetic Components of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Simons Foundation - Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

07/06/21 5:00 PM Eastern Time


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Grants to USA, Canada, and International researchers holding faculty positions at IHEs and other research facilities to investigate the genetic components of autism spectrum disorders. Eligible applicants must have an M.D., Ph.D. or equivalent degree. Funding is intended for research to advance the understanding of the genetic basis of ASD and the molecular and cellular consequences of genetic risk, and to provide a foundation for the development of treatments for select genetically defined forms of the condition. Special emphasis is placed on the use of scalable methods, especially as applied to genes that are suitable targets for genetic therapies.

In this RFA, SFARI seeks proposals in three broad areas of ASD genomics: (1) risk gene discovery and systems biology, (2) functional analysis of variants associated with ASD risk genes and (3) gene-targeted therapies. Successful proposals with a focus on the first two areas will likely involve large-scale analyses.

Applications are encouraged that focus, at least in part, on a subset of 50 genes from the SPARK gene list that SFARI has selected as strong candidates for the development of translational programs. The 50 genes on this list are chosen for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Evidence of recurrent, gain-of-function mutations potentially amenable to knockdown strategies.
  2. Evidence of a mutation hotspot/mutation cluster that may help indicate which part/s of the gene are important for pathogenicity and/or could be treated en bloc.
  3. Evidence of poison exons/non-productive alternative splicing events in a gene with evidence for haploinsufficiency.
  4. The gene encodes a kinase, phosphatase or channel that may be druggable by small molecules.
  5. The genetic syndrome is recessive and offers the opportunity for gene addition.
  6. The gene is X-linked, affects predominantly females and could be amenable to X-reactivation.
  7. Evidence of reversibility (cellular/behavioral) in an animal model.
  8. Association with severe, intractable epilepsy and/or profound intellectual disability and/or neurodegeneration for which the risk/benefit ratio of novel therapeutics could be justifiable.
  9. The predicted incidence of pathogenic mutations in the population exceeds 1/20,000.
  10. The presence of a well-organized family group.

Focus Areas:

  • Focus Area 1: Integrative Analyses of Multi-omic ASD Data
  • Focus Area 2: Functional Analysis of Associated Variants
  • Focus Area 3: Genetic Therapies

More information about the Focus Areas can be found on the URL for Full Text, below.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 196129

Estimated Size of Grant:

The annual budget is between $200,000 and $400,000, inclusive of 20 percent indirect costs.

Term of Contract:

Period of two or three years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

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.

Principal investigators (PIs) who do not have substantial ASD clinical expertise should include a close collaborator with such expertise on their grant application.

SFARI recognizes the importance of diverse viewpoints for scientific advancement. As such, SFARI strongly encourages the inclusion of researchers who span institutions, career stages and groups historically underrepresented in science.

Applications may be submitted by domestic and foreign nonprofit organizations; public and private institutions, such as colleges, universities, hospitals, laboratories, and units of state and local government; and eligible agencies of the federal government. There are no citizenship or country requirements.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Informational Sessions for Potential Applicants:
To answer questions about this RFA, SFARI will hold an informational Zoom meeting on May 20, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Interested applicants can register at

Pre-Application Information:

Important Dates:
- Application Available: May 3, 2021
- Informational Zoom Meeting: May 20, 2021
- Application Deadline: July 6, 2021 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
- Award Notification: October 20, 2021
- Award Start Dates: Dec 2021, Jan 2022, Feb 2022

Applications must be completed electronically and submitted using forms provided at proposalCENTRAL.


Contact Information:

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

Apply Online:

For questions about whether a particular proposal is well suited for this RFA, please contact

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

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 country outside of the USA, Israel and Canada.

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