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Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI)



An extension of the Simons Foundation, The Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) is a research program with a mission to advance scientific research that will benefit individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Since 2007, SFARI has committed over $200 million in external research support to over 150 investigating bodies in the United States and abroad. Descriptions of the SFARI Grant categories can be found below.


  • Explorer Award: These grants are awarded to researchers performing exploratory experiments that will lead to the formulation of competitive applications that will potentially receive larger-scale funding from SFARI or similar organizations.

  • SFARI Pilot Award: These grants support small-scale projects or early-stage experiments that build on preliminary data and will ideally lead to competitive applications for funding by SFARI or similar organizations.

  • SFARI Research Award: These grants are presented to investigators that have demonstrated expertise in the field of autism research and are conducting compelling, high-impact research on an experimental hypothesis in which preliminary data has already been gathered.

  • SFARI SSC Award: Simons Simplex Collection (SSC) is a repository that houses genotypic and phenotypic information gathered from families in which at least one person is affected with autism spectrum disorder. These grants are awarded to researchers aiming to conduct analyses of the data, ideally longitudinal studies that examine the development of the children that are part of the SSC as they progress into adolescence and beyond.

  • Simons VIP: The Simons Variation in Individuals Project (VIP) is a research initiative with the goal of identifying and studying individuals with a recurrent genetic variation that increases the risk of developing ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Research in this area consists of exploring how these variations affect certain areas of the body, identifying the specific genes responsible for the development of ASD, identifying potential genetic biomarkers, and more.