Deadline Info: Letters of Intent accepted anytime

Agency/Sponsor: Autism Speaks


  • Autism Speaks places a high priority on innovation and has designed its new Trailblazer Award to respond quickly to fund highly novel transformative projects. The Trailblazer Award mechanism will support highly novel “out of the box” autism-relevant research that open new avenues to understanding the causes, diagnosis, subtyping, prevention, treatments, and cure of autism spectrum disorders. The Trailblazer Award mechanism is designed to fund small investigator-initiated high risk/high impact projects that are potentially transformative, paradigm shifting, and/or will overcome significant roadblocks in autism research within a 12 month period. We are seeking projects that may be too risky for regular research mechanisms, including that of Autism Speaks Pilot Study grants. The proposed Trailblazer project:

    • Must explore a highly novel idea or research technique that potentially could have high impact, i.e., have the capacity to change the way we diagnose, subtype, prevent, and/or treat ASD or the way we conduct relevant research on ASD.

    • Is not required to have preliminary data, but must have a sound rationale supporting the need for such a project

    • Should be considered risky, i.e., as to not likely be supported though other AS grants programs, including pilot studies.

    • May come from newer or established investigators with demonstrated expertise and experience in autism and/or from investigators in non-autism areas of research that will be applied directly to autism research. Applicants must have a demonstrated track record of research experience relevant to the proposed project.

  • Autism Speaks research funding will be restricted to projects that address one of the following priorities:

    1. Identify risk factors for ASD that can lead to prevention and improved diagnosis and treatment

    2. Reduce age of detection and improve access to early intervention for children with ASD

    3. Enhance quality of, and access to, medical care for individuals with ASD

    4. Promote the development of safe, effective interventions and medicines to reduce core and associated symptoms of ASD throughout the lifespan

    5. Improve the health and outcomes of adults with ASD from a lifetime perspective

  • Funding: Autism Speaks will make a limited number of Trailblazer awards based on the quality of the submissions and available financial resources. Awards are limited to a period of 12 months and an amount up to $100,000 total, inclusive of 10% indirect costs. Funds must be used for research expenses and cannot be used for equipment, travel, meeting or publication costs. Training and mentoring-only applications are not appropriate for this funding program. Project completion must be achievable within 12 months. A one-time no cost extension (NCE) of up to 6 months may be available with a compelling justification. NCE requests are not automatically approved, and all decisions are final. NCEs may be further limited in time and amount. All unused funds must be returned at the end of the project period.

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