Neuroscience Collaborations Vision Statements Call

Open
RFA closed:
Important Dates
  • Announce Call for Vision Statements:
  • Webinar outlining call for vision statements:
  • RFA open:
  • RFA closed:
  • Review and discussions: April–June 2023
  • Invitation to submit full proposals: June 2023
  • Full proposals due: September 2023
  • Selection of proposals to proceed to workshops: December 2023
  • Workshops: January 2024–September 2024
  • Selection and announcement of next Neuroscience Collaboration(s): November 2024
  • Funding Starts: July 2025
Important Dates
  • Announce Call for Vision Statements:
  • Webinar outlining call for vision statements:
  • RFA open:
  • RFA closed:
  • Review and discussions: April–June 2023
  • Invitation to submit full proposals: June 2023
  • Full proposals due: September 2023
  • Selection of proposals to proceed to workshops: December 2023
  • Workshops: January 2024–September 2024
  • Selection and announcement of next Neuroscience Collaboration(s): November 2024
  • Funding Starts: July 2025
Contact Info

The Simons Foundation

The Simons Foundation’s mission is to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences. Co-founded in 1994 in New York City by Jim and Marilyn Simons, the foundation exists to support basic — or discovery-driven — scientific research undertaken in the pursuit of understanding the phenomena of our world. Marilyn Simons served as president of the foundation until 2021, when David Spergel was appointed president of the foundation.

The foundation pursues its mission through its grant-making division, comprising programs in mathematics and physical Sciences; life sciences; education, outreach and engagement; and neuroscience & autism research; and through its internal research division, the Flatiron Institute.

Simons Collaborations

The Simons Foundation seeks to create strong collaborations and foster the cross-pollination of ideas between investigators, as these interactions often lead to unexpected breakthroughs. Towards this end, in 2012 the foundation launched a new collaborative funding model, the Simons Collaborations, which funds groups of investigators — often from different disciplines — to work together on a timely and important problem. To date, 23 Simons Collaborations have been launched in and across our Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Neuroscience divisions, and another two collaborations through the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI).

The goal of the Simons Collaborations is to bring together groups of outstanding scientists to address topics of fundamental scientific importance, with a focus on fields in which significant new developments have created novel opportunities for exploration. To enable bold, creative and innovative research, each collaboration is funded for ten years (with a review at year five).

Neuroscience Collaborations at the Simons Foundation

The Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain
In July 2014, the Simons Foundation launched the Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain (SCGB), a large-scale scientific collaboration that focused on the measurement, analysis and modeling of neural coding and dynamics during behavior, with an emphasis on extending our understanding of the internal brain processes that span the arc from sensory perception to action. The SCGB created a new framework for tackling and elucidating mechanisms of brain function by bringing theoretical and experimental neuroscientists together to unite the latest innovative neurotechnology for recording and stimulating neural populations with the best theory and most powerful forms of analysis and modeling to discover the nature, role and mechanisms of the neural activity that produces cognition.

The Simons Collaboration on Plasticity and the Aging Brain
The success of the SCGB gave rise to a second Simons Foundation Neuroscience Collaboration, the Simons Collaboration on Plasticity and the Aging Brain (SCPAB). The SCPAB began in March 2020 and aims to discover mechanisms of resilience and maintenance in the aging brain and to establish a baseline for age-related changes in plasticity across many model systems, in order to identify potential interventions to minimize cognitive decline and extend healthy lifespan. As the age of the population increases, the need to understand the phenomenon and mechanisms of cognitive decline also increases. SCPAB projects specifically address changes in normal aging, to distinguish from well-funded efforts to study Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases and to distinguish from work focusing on developmental trajectories. Areas of particular interest include mechanisms of resilience and reserve, brain vasculature, neuronal plasticity, neural-immune interactions and sleep.

Call for Vision Statements for New Neuroscience Collaborations

We now seek vision statements to identify new, emerging breakthrough areas of neuroscience that are poised for high-impact funding by the Simons Foundation. We are interested in bold and cutting edge, idea-generating research that focuses on basic principles of brain function and may be overlooked or too risky for other funding organizations.

We will prioritize cross-disciplinary collaborations that integrate many levels of analysis, methodologies, ways of thinking, and scientific communities. We endeavor to encourage conversations within and across fields while bringing together diverse groups of researchers to investigate important questions about the basic principles of brain function. Investigators in a Simons Collaboration are expected to openly share data, code, analysis pipelines, protocols and reagents. We expect proposals to include junior investigators and investigators from a diversity of academic disciplines, genders, races and ethnicities in a Simons Collaboration.

Vision statements should clearly outline the big idea and hypotheses that the proposed neuroscience collaboration will address, including high-level overviews of the methods and approaches that will be used. Why is this work uniquely suited for Simons Collaboration funding? Why should this collaboration be funded now? Why is it difficult to obtain funding to investigate these questions from other funding agencies and foundations? Vision statements should address why and how the support of a large collaborative research project from the Simons Foundation will transform our understanding of how the brain works. Please propose investigators who may be included in the collaboration and an estimated anticipated overall yearly total cost.

Vision statements should be no longer than two-pages, single-spaced, 11 pt New Times Roman font, 0.5 in margins plus one page (if needed) of figures, references, the anticipated overall yearly total cost, and a list of proposed PIs and the expertise they contribute.

Informational Webinar

Please click here to view a recording of the informational webinar held on Dec 12, 2022.

Funding Levels and Period

Simons Collaborations will be funded for 10 years (with a review at year 5). The total budget for the new Neuroscience Collaborations will be $25 million per year. We anticipate identifying up to three collaborations, with the funding level of each collaboration determined by the proposed scope and aims of the project. As a guideline, we suggest budgets of between $5–12 million per year, inclusive of 20 percent indirect costs.

Process for Selection

Vision statements will be reviewed by the Simons Foundation with input from outside reviewers. 10–20 submissions will be invited to submit a 20-page full proposal including a finalized list of investigators and a detailed budget. Full proposals will be reviewed, and 3–5 submissions will be invited to the Simons Foundation for workshops with all investigators involved in the proposed collaboration. We anticipate identifying up to three collaborations, with the funding level of each collaboration being determined by the proposed scope and aims of the project.

Eligibility

All investigators must hold a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent degree and have a faculty position or the equivalent (eligible for receiving grant funding) at a college, university, medical school or other research facility. In addition, eligible applicants must have independent research 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.

Instructions for Submission

The deadline for Letter of Intent (LOI) submission is 12:00 p.m. EST on March 8, 2023.

Applications must be submitted via the Simons Award Manager (SAM). Please click on the Funding Opportunities icon and navigate to the Neuroscience Collaborations – Simons Collaborations in Neuroscience call. Click the Create Application button to begin. LOIs should be started and submitted under the applicant’s own account in SAM.

All Letters of Intent must include the following:

  • LOI Narrative: This should be a vision statement that clearly outlines the big idea and hypotheses that the proposed collaboration will address. Vision statements must not exceed two (2) pages, single-spaced, 11pt font, 0.5 inch margins. Figures and references should be uploaded in the Additional Application Information section (details are below).
  • Estimated Annual Cost: Please provide an estimate of the anticipated annual cost of the overall collaboration.
  • Additional Application Information: Please use this additional page to provide:
    • A list of proposed PIs with a summary of their expertise. This list is to provide some insight on who might be included on a full application. It is not binding and may change at the full application stage.
    • Figures
    • References
Read More
Important Dates
  • Announce Call for Vision Statements:
  • Webinar outlining call for vision statements:
  • RFA open:
  • RFA closed:
  • Review and discussions: April–June 2023
  • Invitation to submit full proposals: June 2023
  • Full proposals due: September 2023
  • Selection of proposals to proceed to workshops: December 2023
  • Workshops: January 2024–September 2024
  • Selection and announcement of next Neuroscience Collaboration(s): November 2024
  • Funding Starts: July 2025
Contact Info

The deadline for Letter of Intent (LOI) submission is 12:00 p.m. EST on March 8, 2023.

Applications must be submitted via the Simons Award Manager (SAM). Please click on the Funding Opportunities icon and navigate to the Neuroscience Collaborations – Simons Collaborations in Neuroscience call. Click the Create Application button to begin. LOIs should be started and submitted under the applicant’s own account in SAM.

For instructions on how to submit an application through our new grants management system SAM, informational videos can be found here.

Letter of Intent (LOI) Submission: Vision Statements will be submitted as LOIs in SAM.

  • Proposal Tab:
    • Applicant Details & Personal Data: Complete all required fields, including academic rank, demographic data, position/title, and ORCID iD. This information should be completed in the user’s profile. The applicant may use the Edit Profile button to update their information as needed.
    • Degrees: Click the Add/Modify Degrees(s) button to provide this information.
    • Application Details: Please complete the following required fields:
      • Title
      • LOI Requested Budget: Please input the estimated yearly cost of the collaboration.
    • Proposal: The following information must be entered/uploaded;
      • LOI Narrative: Upload via template provided in SAM. This should be a vision statement that clearly outlines the big idea and hypotheses that the proposed collaboration will address. Vision statements must not exceed two (2) pages, single-spaced, 11pt font, 0.5 inch margins. Figures and references should be uploaded in the Additional Application Information section (details are below).
      • Additional Application Information: Upload via template provided in SAM. Please use this additional page to provide:
        • A list of proposed PIs with a summary of their expertise. This list is to provide some insight on who might be included on a full application. It is not binding and may change at the full application stage.
        • Figures
        • References
  • Contacts & Personnel Tab:
    • Institution Administrative Contacts: Institution contacts are not required at the LOI stage. However, if you would like to grant an institutional official or administrator access to assist in the completion of the LOI, please add them to this section.
    • Project Personnel: Project personnel are not required at the LOI stage. However, if you would like to grant a key personnel access to assist in the completion of the LOI, please add them to this section in the role Key Personnel – With Application Access.
  • Check Application Progress: Click the Check Application Progress button to check for any missing required information or files. All missing required information will be listed at the top of the screen and must be corrected before the LOI can be submitted.
  • Submit Application: When the LOI is complete, please click on the Submit Application button. A confirmation page will appear once the LOI is successfully submitted. It will appear in the Submitted tab of the Applications in Progress table. Please note that you will not be able to submit an LOI if the deadline has passed.

LOI Approval:
A submitted LOI will appear in the Submitted queue of the Applications in Progress table on your SAM home page. If an LOI is approved, the status will change to In Progress. Click on the record to gain access to the full proposal application.

Important Dates
  • Announce Call for Vision Statements:
  • Webinar outlining call for vision statements:
  • RFA open:
  • RFA closed:
  • Review and discussions: April–June 2023
  • Invitation to submit full proposals: June 2023
  • Full proposals due: September 2023
  • Selection of proposals to proceed to workshops: December 2023
  • Workshops: January 2024–September 2024
  • Selection and announcement of next Neuroscience Collaboration(s): November 2024
  • Funding Starts: July 2025
Contact Info
  1. How much detail is needed for the two (2) page vision statements?plus--large

    Vision statements should clearly outline the big idea and hypotheses that the proposed neuroscience collaboration will address, including high-level overviews of the methods and approaches that will be used. Why is this work uniquely suited for Simons Collaboration funding? Why should this collaboration be funded now? Why is it difficult to obtain funding to investigate these questions from other funding agencies and foundations? Vision statements should address why and how the support of a large collaborative research project from the Simons Foundation will transform our understanding of how the brain works.

    All of the details of a proposed collaboration do not need to be worked out at the vision statement stage. We are interested in the big idea and the scientific vision. A subset of the vision statements will be invited to submit a full application, which will include a detailed 20-page proposal.

  2. Is this call for Vision Statements for new Simons Foundation Neuroscience Collaborations intended for clinical or translational work?plus--large

    For this call, we are interested in bold and cutting edge, idea-generating research that focuses on basic principles of brain function.

  3. What model systems can be used for research in Simons Collaborations?plus--large

    We have no restrictions on the model systems used for research in Simons Collaborations. We are open to vision statements that include research across model systems and organisms, from invertebrates to humans.

  4. Does the Simons Foundation consider clinical neuroscience and/or disease-related projects to be within the purview of the call for Neuroscience Collaborations?plus--large

    Projects that incorporate clinical neuroscience and/or disease-related research to understand basic principles of brain function are within the call’s purview. However, projects whose aim is solely to develop treatments for specific diseases are not within scope.

  5. How often will the Simons Foundation announce calls for vision statements for new neuroscience collaborations?plus--large

    We anticipate that we may host another call for neuroscience collaborations in five (5) years.

  6. Is the Vision Statement the same as a letter of intent?plus--large

    Yes, the vision statements will be submitted as a Letter of Intent (LOI) in the Simons Award Manager (SAM).

  7. A proposed list of PIs involved in a potential collaboration is requested. Is this list final? Can this list change? plus--large

    The list of PIs requested for this vision statement call is intended to give us an idea of the investigators you may approach about being a part of a neuroscience collaboration if you are invited to submit a full proposal. This list is proposed and may change between the LOI and full proposal stages of this process. Specifically, we anticipate that vision statements will be submitted by a small group of PIs, but will provide preliminary information about a larger number of investigators who would be included if the vision statement were selected for full proposal submission.

  8. Is there a typical number of PIs envisioned for a proposed collaboration?plus--large

    No. The number of PIs involved in a proposed collaboration should be driven by the needed expertise for the scientific question that will be investigated. As a loose guide, 20-25 PIs is likely of the right order for this call. We will consider smaller or larger proposed collaborations. PIs may be grouped into smaller teams to facilitate deeper collaboration. Teams should be organized in a manner that facilitates communication and sharing of data and information across the collaboration. Details of the administrative and organizational structure of the collaboration is not necessary at this time; guidelines will be provided when a subset of vision statements are invited to submit a full proposal.

  9. Will the PIs in a given collaboration be fixed for the duration of the program?plus--large

    The composition of PIs involved in a Simons Collaboration will be dictated by the scientific questions investigated. This may mean a fixed or evolving group of PIs over time, depending on the scope and goals of the program. However, while new PIs may be recruited to bring on new areas of expertise, the overall budget envelope will remain largely fixed over the span of the collaboration. Moreover, once established, the Simons Collaboration will not host new calls for funding of projects within its umbrella. Rather, major changes in direction and in PI composition of the Simons Collaboration will be made in conjunction with the 5-year review.

  10. Is there a minimum percent effort for Principal Investigators (PIs)?plus--large

    We seek applications from independent investigators who can devote a substantial portion of time to this project. While we do not require a minimum PI effort, we expect the PI to commit to a level of effort that reflects a leading role and significant engagement in the project.

  11. Can foreign institutions (non-U.S.) apply? plus--large

    Yes. Foreign institutions may apply. Please refer to the Simons Foundation policies regarding international awards.

  12. Is this program explicitly or implicitly aiming to fund multi-institutional collaborations?plus--large

    We expect that the scope of the proposed collaboration will involve PIs from multiple institutions. We encourage all investigators to assemble the strongest scientific team to address the goals of the proposed collaboration, without restriction based on geographical location or institutional affiliation. This call is not intended for single-institution support.

  13. Am I eligible to be a principal investigator on a collaboration? plus--large

    All investigators must hold a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent degree and have a faculty position or the equivalent (eligible for receiving grant funding) at a college, university, medical school or other research facility. In addition, eligible applicants must have independent research 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.

  14. Can individuals employed by for-profit companies apply?plus--large

    Individuals employed by for-profit companies may not be the primary investigator submitting the application. However, individuals employed by for-profit companies can be part of a Simons Collaboration as long as they can follow all of the open data sharing and intellectual property (IP) policies. Please refer to the Simons Foundation policies for more information.

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

    No, institutional sign-off is not required for the vision statement/LOI stage. If the vision statement/LOI is approved and the collaboration is invited to submit a full proposal, institutional sign-off will be required in order to submit the full proposal.

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

    The Submit button is located at the bottom right of the screen. You will be unable to submit if you have not provided all the required information. If the submission deadline has NOT passed, use the Check Application Progress button to check for missing requirements. If the problem persists, please contact neurogrants@simonsfoundation.org.

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

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

    The Check Application Progress 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 samsupport@simonsfoundation.org.

  18. Are deadlines adjusted for time zones?plus--large

    No. Please be advised that deadlines are in Eastern Standard Time (EST). We recommend registering early for a SAM account 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.

  19. Does the Simons Foundation grant extensions for vision statement submissions?plus--large

    No. The deadline is March 8, 2023 at 12:00 p.m. EST. Extensions will not be granted. If you have any difficulties, please email neurogrants@simonsfoundation.org.

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

    A confirmation email is sent upon submission of the LOI. Make sure that spam filters allow emails from no-reply@simonsfoundation.org. Additionally, the LOI will be in the Submitted tab of the Applications in Progress table after submission.

  21. 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 for assistance. Please email neurogrants@simonsfoundation.org. LOIs can only be changed prior to the deadline.

  22. The application status notification date has passed. What is the status of my Vision Statement/LOI?plus--large

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

  23. Do I need to submit biosketches with the vision statement?plus--large

    No, a biosketch for each investigator is not required at this stage of the application.

  24. Do I need to submit a budget with the vision statement?plus--large

    No, a full budget is not required at this stage. Only an estimate of the anticipated annual cost of the collaboration is required. If you are invited to submit a full proposal, all PIs participating in the collaboration will be asked to submit a detailed budget with their full proposal.

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

    No, the Simons Foundation only accepts LOIs submitted online through SAM.

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