2021 Pilot Awards

Open
LOI Deadline
Important Dates
  • LOI available in pC
  • LOI Deadline
  • Finalists notified if invited to submit a full proposal
  • Full Proposal Deadline
  • Award Notification
  • Award Start Date
Important Dates
  • LOI available in pC
  • LOI Deadline
  • Finalists notified if invited to submit a full proposal
  • Full Proposal Deadline
  • Award Notification
  • Award Start Date
Contact Info

Mission

The Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain (SCGB) aims to expand our understanding of the role of internal brain processes in the arc from sensation to action, thereby discovering the nature, role and mechanisms of the neural activity that produces cognition.

To this end, we solicit applications for SCGB pilot awards from individuals who will conduct bold, imaginative, rigorous and relevant research. This application will have two stages: a first-stage letter of intent (LOI), which will be competitively reviewed, after which selected LOIs will be invited to submit a second-stage full application for further competitive review.

More detailed information about the leadership and scientific mission of the SCGB program is available on our website.

Objective of the Pilot Awards

Since its inception, the Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain (SCGB) has focused on the measurement, analysis and modeling of neural coding and dynamics during behavior, with an emphasis on extending our understanding of the arc from sensory perception to action, including the presence and cognitive role of internal brain states. Our current projects have largely involved the detailed study of a single, or relatively few, brain regions. With the advent of new technologies for large scale recording and perturbation from multiple brain regions simultaneously, new opportunities have arisen for an attack on the problem of how neural coding and dynamics in these regions work together in distributed networks to produce cognition. This expanding experimental frontier parallels a similar evolution in neural theory and analysis methods focused on larger scale distributed computation, as well as exciting developments in the machine learning and AI community on integrated and distributed learning and memory networks to solve real-world problems. Finally, new connectomics datasets now provide a rich set of constraints for multi-region models and simulations. To expand our representation in these new areas, the SCGB now invites letters of intent for two-year pilot projects that investigate the general principles of global activity across multiple brain regions and its relationship to cognition. We encourage applications using advanced methods for studying the brain at high spatio-temporal resolution in diverse organisms from invertebrates to humans. This award is not intended to fund technology development. Collaborative projects of multiple investigators are highly encouraged, though we will also consider single-investigator projects. For questions about the scientific scope of the award, please contact Alyssa Picchini Schaffer (globalbrain@simonsfoundation.org).

The letter of intent (LOI) should set forth a conceptual overview and brief description of the methods for the work that would be pursued. The LOI must not exceed two (2) pages including figures and references. LOIs that exceed the page limit will not be reviewed. Applications must also include an NIH biographical sketch of each principal investigator and key collaborators.

Funding

Investigators who submitted LOIs that are favorably reviewed will be notified by June 14, 2021, and asked to submit a full proposal by July 25, 2021. Grants will be for up to $200,000 USD per year, including indirect costs (limited to 20 percent of modified total direct costs), for a total award amount of $400,000 USD over a period of two years per investigator. Appropriate expenses include salary support for the investigator and postdoctoral and graduate research assistants, travel, equipment, supplies and other research expenses. Allowable indirect costs to the primary institution for subcontracts are not included in the $400,000 budget threshold (see grant policies). A detailed budget justification will be solicited with the full proposal.

Eligibility

All principal investigators and unfunded 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. In addition, eligible applicants must have independent lab space at their institution.

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.

Individuals currently receiving funding from the Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain are not eligible for additional funding but can serve as unfunded collaborators.

Instructions for Submission

The deadline for LOI submission is Thursday, April 15, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

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 Life Sciences-Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain Pilot Awards program. For assistance, please call 800-875-2562 or email pcsupport@altum.com.

For applications with multiple principal investigators (PIs), the LOI need only be submitted by the PI designated as the spokesperson PI. Applicants will be notified about the status of their LOI by June 14, 2021. Investigators on approved LOIs will be invited to submit a full scientific proposal on the approved collaborative project(s), which will include a collaborative research narrative, data sharing plan, other support and detailed individual budgets (see Funding section above). Each investigator will be asked to submit their own full proposal with institution sign off, and with exactly the same scientific narrative to allow awards to be given directly to individual PIs for their contributions to the collaborative project(s).

Details concerning application requirements and submission can be found in our instructions or on proposalCENTRAL. In case of remaining questions, please take a look at our extensive FAQ section.

Life Sciences-Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain Pilot Awards FAQs

These frequently asked questions (FAQs) aim to cover topics related to the application process for the Life Sciences-Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain Pilot Awards FAQs, including information on Simons Foundation policies and instructions on submitting LOIs and full proposals online through proposalCENTRAL (pC) at https://proposalcentral.com/.

If you have a question regarding the request for application (RFA) guidelines or policies not answered below, do not hesitate to contact the Simons Foundation at lifegrants@simonsfoundation.org.

Read More
Important Dates
  • LOI available in pC
  • LOI Deadline
  • Finalists notified if invited to submit a full proposal
  • Full Proposal Deadline
  • Award Notification
  • Award Start Date
Contact Info

For applications with multiple principal investigators (PIs), the LOI need only be submitted by the PI designated as the spokesperson PI. The spokesperson PI submits a LOI on behalf of all team members via proposalCENTRAL at https://proposalcentral.com/. The submission deadline for LOIs is April 15, 2021, 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

proposalCENTRAL Log-In Information

All proposals must be completed electronically and submitted using forms provided at proposalCENTRAL. To submit your proposal:

  • Log in to proposalCENTRAL using your username and password. If you are a new user, click on the create one now button under application login. Your registered email also works as your username. If you forgot your log-in information, you can retrieve your username and password from proposalCENTRAL by clicking the forgot your username/password link under application login.
  • To apply, after you log in, select the gray grant opportunities tab on the right side of the page and scroll down to the Simons Foundation section. Then click on apply now in the life sciences-simons collaboration on the global brain pilot awards row. For assistance with proposalCENTRAL, please call 800-875-2562 or email pcsupport@altum.com.

To submit a LOI, the following proposalCENTRAL modules must be completed:

  1. Title Page
    1. Enter your project title in this section.
  2. Download Templates & Instructions
    1. All templates necessary to complete your LOI are available for download in this module (or the attach letter of intent here module, where attachments are submitted as PDF-only files; see the Attach Letter of Intent here section below for more details).
  3. Enable Other Users to Access This Proposal
    1. This module allows you to give other users access to your LOI. When you give a person access to your grant application, you can give them one of three levels of permissions: View, Edit or Administrator.
  4. Applicant/PI
    1. The spokesperson PI should be listed here. The spokesperson PI, under whose name the LOI is submitted, is responsible for submitting all components of the LOI on behalf of all team members. The spokesperson PI must be affiliated with the institution submitting the application. They 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. In addition, eligible applicants must have independent lab space at their institution. 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. Individuals currently receiving funding from the Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain are not eligible for additional funding but can serve as unfunded collaborators.
    2. For applications with multiple PIs, please only list the spokesperson PI in this section.
  5. Organization/Institution
    1. Institution information is preloaded from the institutional profile but may be changed on this screen if necessary.
  6. Key Personnel
    1. LOIs can have multiple PIs and unfunded key collaborators. Provide contact information for all PIs and collaborators. Please do not list the Applicant/Spokesperson PI in this section.
  7. Abstracts
    1. Enter your technical abstract as text (3,000 characters max) in this section.
  8. Attach Letter of Intent Here
    1. Upload the following documents in the attach letter of intent here module, where they are also available for download:
      1. LOI Narrative
      2. Biographical Sketch of each principal investigator and key collaborators
  9. PI Data Sheet
    1. Your professional profile will populate this section of the application. If revisions are required, please select edit professional profile and go to section 4 (Personal Data for Applications).
  10. Validate
    1. You must click the validate button on the bottom of the page to check for any missing information or files that are required to submit the application. All missing information that is required will be listed on the screen. Please correct any missing information before proceeding to the next step.
  11. Submit
    1. You will be unable to submit if you have not provided all the required information. Any missing information will be listed on the screen. If your submission is successful, you will receive a confirmation message on the screen and a confirmation email will be sent to the applicant.
Important Dates
  • LOI available in pC
  • LOI Deadline
  • Finalists notified if invited to submit a full proposal
  • Full Proposal Deadline
  • Award Notification
  • Award Start Date
Contact Info
  1. My application has multiple principal investigators (PIs). Who submits the LOI?plus--large

    The Spokesperson Principal Investigator (PI). LOIs must have a spokesperson PI who is responsible for submitting the LOI on behalf of all team members.

  2. Where do I submit the LOI?plus--large

    New users first need to create a user account on proposalCENTRAL (pC) at https://proposalcentral.com/. (For instructions on how to create an account, see the FAQ How do I create a proposalCENTRAL user account? below.) For all users with a pC account, log in under application login at https://proposalcentral.com/ and select create new proposal or click on the grant opportunities tab. Scroll down to simons foundation and then click apply now for the “Life Sciences-Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain Pilot Awards” program in order to start the LOI (“LOI Section”) and access the templates. After all sections are completed, you will be able to click on the submit button to send your completed proposal to the Simons Foundation.

    You will gain access to the full proposal (“Proposal Section”) on proposalCENTRAL if your LOI is accepted. (For more information, see full Proposal FAQs in the next tab.)

  3. How do I create a proposalCENTRAL user account?plus--large

    Go to https://proposalcentral.com/ (pC) and click create one now under application login. Fill in the required fields, check the boxes to agree to pC’s “Terms of Service” and “Acceptable Use Policy” and then click save.

  4. Can I email or mail a LOI?plus--large

    No, the Simons Foundation only accepts LOIs submitted online through https://proposalcentral.com/.

  5. Do I need an institutional sign-off to submit a LOI?plus--large

    No, however, investigators on approved LOIs will need an institutional sign-off for their full proposals. Each approved investigator will be asked to submit their own full proposal, with exactly the same scientific narrative to allow awards to be given directly to individual PIs for their contributions to the collaborative project(s).

  6. Can someone else (assistant, staff member, etc.) submit my application for me?plus--large

    Yes, you can add users with administrator access to the pC application so that someone other than the Spokesperson PI can edit and submit the application. To add another user, go to section 3, “Enable Other Users to Access This Proposal,” and complete the required fields.

  7. Can foreign institutions apply for this grant?plus--large

    Yes, applications may be submitted from scientists in 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. Please see “Policies and Procedures” for information on International Award policies.

  8. Can I change the named Spokesperson PI after a name has been entered in the application?plus--large

    Yes, linked instructions for how to change the named Spokesperson PI can be found in the application.

    The person who starts the application will be named as the Spokesperson PI on the Applicant/PI page. If the Applicant/PI page does not show the correct name (e.g., someone else started the online application and you are the Spokesperson PI, or you started the application and someone else is the Spokesperson PI), then you must update this section before submitting.

  9. Where do I list additional PIs and collaborators?plus--large

    Enter all principal investigators and key collaborators in the Key Personnel section of the LOI.

  10. Do I need to submit bio sketches with the LOI?plus--large

    Yes. A bio sketch is required for all principal investigators and key collaborators.

  11. What are the font style and size requirements?plus--large

    Type should be set in 11-point, legible font. All margins should be set at 0.5 inches.

  12. Do I submit a budget with the LOI?plus--large

    No. A detailed budget justification will be solicited with the full proposals.

  13. Where is the submit button?plus--large

    The submit button is located in the last section of the LOI. You will be unable to submit if you have not provided all the required information. If the submission deadline has not passed, use the validate button to check for missing requirements.

    If the deadline has passed, the submission period has closed and you will not be able to submit.

    Please contact pcsupport@altum.com with any issues.

  14. I get an error message citing a missing section when I try to submit.plus--large

    The validate button reviews your LOI for missing sections. The submission instructions list the required sections and attachments. You must complete the missing sections listed. If you are still receiving error messages after completing and saving the indicated sections, please contact pcsupport@altum.com.

  15. Are deadline times adjusted for time zones?plus--large

    No, please be advised that deadlines are in Eastern Time. We recommend registering early and submitting LOIs with ample time for corrections prior to the deadline hour. Site traffic can slow page-load times. The submit button will not work after the deadline time has passed.

  16. Is there a confirmation email when I submit?plus--large

    A confirmation email is sent upon submission of the LOI. Please contact pcsupport@altum.com if you submitted your LOI and have not received a confirmation email within ten minutes. Make sure that spam filters allow emails from pcsupport@altum.com. The LOI will be in the submitted tab when you next log in.

  17. Can I make changes to the LOI once it has been submitted?plus--large

    Before you can make changes to your submitted LOI, you must first contact the Simons Foundation. Please email lifegrants@simonsfoundation.org. LOIs can only be changed prior to the April 15, 2021 deadline.

  18. Does the Simons Foundation grant extensions for LOIs?plus--large

    No extensions will be given. If you have any difficulties, please email lifegrants@simonsfoundation.org. Please do not contact pcsupport@altum.com directly.

  19. How do I submit a full proposal?plus--large

    Unlike the first-stage proposal, the spokesperson PI does not submit the full proposal on behalf of the other principal investigators. Each PI’s institution will be required to submit the full proposal only on behalf of the individual PI and their institution.

    With an approved LOI, each PI will gain access to their own full proposal on proposalCENTRAL. Log in under application login at https://proposalcentral.com/, select the manage proposals tab and then click in progress. Click the edit button for the corresponding full proposal you want to complete. Once all sections are complete and the attachments are uploaded, the submit button will be activated and you can click submit to send your full proposal to the Simons Foundation.

  20. Does the Principal Investigator need to sign the signature page?plus--large

    No, only the signing official is required to sign the signature page.

  21. Is there a confirmation email when I submit?plus--large

    A confirmation email is sent upon submission of the full proposal. Please contact pcsupport@altum.com if you submitted your full proposal and have not received a confirmation email within ten minutes. Make sure that spam filters allow emails from pcsupport@altum.com. The full proposal will be in the submitted tab when you next log in.

  22. I get an error message citing a missing section when I try to submit.plus--large

    The validate button reviews your full proposal for missing sections. The submission instructions list the required sections and attachments. You must complete the missing sections listed. If you are still receiving error messages after completing and saving the indicated sections, please contact pcsupport@altum.com.

  23. Can I make changes to the full proposal once it has been submitted?plus--large

    Before you can make changes to your submitted full proposal, you must first contact the Simons Foundation. Please email lifegrants@simonsfoundation.org. Applications can only be changed prior to the July 25, 2021 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time deadline.

  24. Is validating my full proposal the same as submitting it?plus--large

    No. Validating the full proposal checks for errors and omissions and will alert you to missing requirements from your full proposal. If the full proposal is complete, you must then click submit. You will receive an email within ten minutes. Contact pcsupport@altum.com if you do not receive confirmation and do not see your full proposal in the submitted tab or with the status changed to submitted.

  25. The deadline for final decision notification has passed. What is the status of my full proposal?plus--large

    You should receive notification within 24 hours of the deadline. Please check your spam filter settings if you have not received notification by then.

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