Azrieli Centre for Autism Research (ACAR): Transforming autism research, training and care -- improving lives via Open Science

ACAR - Funding

Funding Opportunities

Exploring new research trends, enhancing learning and extending collaborative networks through competitive funding opportunities

Azrieli Awards in Neurodevelopment (Deadline: July 1, 2021)

This ACAR program offers seed funding through a competitive peer-review process for researchers undertaking innovative projects focused on autism and related neurodevelopmental conditions. Applications with a strong translational emphasis are encouraged.

Awards are granted to fundamental, clinical, and/or applied sciences projects that can demonstrate concrete advancements in the field and improve the lives of people with autism and their families.

Recipients of the Azrieli Award in Neurodevelopment are expected to actively participate in ACAR’s activities and provide progress and financial reports at the end of the award period.

Eligibility: The principal investigator must be a researcher holding a full-time academic appointment at The Neuro, McGill Centre for Research in Neuroscience, or other McGill institutes/departments. Co-investigators can be researchers from McGill University or external institutions. Collaborations with members of the Transforming Autism Care Consortium (TACC) are encouraged. Principal investigators that have held or currently hold an Azrieli Award in Neurodevelopment are not eligible to apply.

Amount and Duration: Up to three non‐renewable awards of up to $85,000 each for a period of 1-2 years.

Admissible Expenses: All research operating costs are admissible (salary for trainees, consumables, equipment) if adequate justification is provided in the budget.

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Scientific quality of the research project and relevance to autism or related conditions (clarity of the aims and hypothesis, relevance of the proposed methodology and analyses) (50%)
  • Feasibility, including available resources, applicant experience, research team experience and environment of the research (30%)
  • Project originality and contribution to the advancement of knowledge, translational impact for autism or related conditions (20%)

Evaluation Process: Azrieli Awards in Neurodevelopment will be awarded through a competitive peer-review process. A grant evaluation committee will review the applications based on the evaluation criteria above. Final funding recommendations may take into consideration the strategic objectives of ACAR, or other factors deemed appropriate.

Submission Deadline: All required documentation should be sent in PDF format to acar.neuro [at] before 5 pm on Thursday, July 1, 2021. Anticipated award announcement will be in September 2021.

Required Documentation (Single spaced, Arial 11pts, 2.5cm margins):

  • Project identification (1 page)
    • Title of research project
    • Identification of participating researchers and expertise
    • Project summary including its goals, originality, feasibility and foreseeable impact
  • Project description (5 pages maximum including figures, excluding references)
    • Context, objectives, hypothesis, methods and analyses
    • Feasibility of the proposed research, available resources and environment
    • Translational impact of the research project
    • Expected deliverables (scientific results, publications, knowledge transfer)
  • Budget justification (1 page)
  • CIHR version of Canadian Common CV of applicant and collaborators (Project Grant version).

Previous Competitions:


Learn more about the 2020 applicants and their research projects.


Applicant Co-Applicant(s) Project Title
Timothy KennedyTimothy E. Kennedy,
The Neuro
Philippe Campeau,
CHU Sainte Justine
Determine the Role of Netrin-3 in an Autism-Like Neurodevelopmental Disorder
Aparna SuvrathanAparna Suvrathan,
Centre for Research in Neuroscience, McGill University
Jesper Sjöström, Centre for Research in Neuroscience, McGill University Heterogeneity of cerebellar learning rules in Fragile X syndrome

Yang Zhou,
The Neuro

Guy Rouleau,
The Neuro

Yeming Xie,
The Neuro

Identifying molecular pathways and neural mechanisms underlying rescue effects of lithium in a mouse ASD model of SHANK3 haploinsufficiency

Learn more about the 2019 applicants and their research projects


Applicant Co-Applicant(s) Project Title

Boris Bernhardt profile
Boris Bernhardt,
The Neuro

Bratislav Misic,
The Neuro

Jonathan Smallwood,
University of York

Michael Milham,
Child Mind Institute, Nathan Kline Institute

Richard Bethlehem,
University of Cambridge

Seok-Jun Hong,
Child Mind Institute

Casey Paquola,
The Neuro

Computational analysis of macroscale hierarchy and microcircuit imbalance in autism: a novel framework to understand phenotypic diversity and transcriptomic associations

Jean-François Cloutier,
The Neuro

Keith Murai, Centre for Research in Neuroscience, McGill University Defining the impact of 16p11.2 microdeletions on cortical interneuron development

Philippe Seguela profile
Philippe Séguéla,
The Neuro

David Rudko,
The Neuro
“Out of touch”: Altered somatosensation in autism spectrum disorders

Azrieli Science Grants Program

Azrieli Science Grants Program

The program has three main objectives: 
1) Enable scientific advances in basic and translational neuroscience 
2) Bring new ideas and talent to the field of neurodevelopmental disorders 
3) Catalyze collaborative networks of neuroscience researchers around specific research themes.

“RNA and the Brain” will support research projects that deepen  understanding of the molecular events downstream of RNA transcription that diversify gene expression and function in embryonic and early postnatal development of the nervous system. Applications will be evaluated by an international peer-review committee who will score and rank applications and provide recommendations to the Azrieli Foundation.

The 2020 competition is now closed. 

More information on the 2020 competition

Azrieli "Back on Track from COVID-19" Grant

Azrieli "Back on Track from COVID-19" Grant

The Azrieli Foundation "Back on Track from COVID-19” grant addresses the interruption to biomedical research laboratories and clinical research as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. The funds are intended to cover additional costs to research incurred by facility shutdown, changes in work plans due to social distancing, assisting graduate student progress to complete research, and overall to partially mitigate the loss of promising discoveries and ideas.

The Back on Track grants are directed towards clinical researchers and laboratory-based scientists working in the area of neurodevelopmental disorders.

The 2020 Competition is now closed. 

For more information: Azrieli Foundation Back on Track from COVID-19

Azrieli Neuroimmune System and Brain Development Grant (Deadline: May 14, 2021) 

The Azrieli Foundation has launched a 2021 request for applications (RFA) for “The Neuroimmune System and Brain Development” grant. In their call for applications, the Foundation seeks to support hypothesis-driven, mechanistic research projects that explore the role played by inflammatory and immune processes in neural development and their effects on the pathophysiology of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs). The long-term vision is that discoveries made possible by this RFA could lead to the development of mechanism-based interventions that address the fundamental molecular and physiological features that underlie neurodevelopmental conditions.

Individual or team projects will be funded to a maximum of CDN $150,000 per year for a maximum of three years.

Deadline: Letters of intent may be in English or French and must be submitted by May 14, 2021.

For more information: Azrieli Foundation Funding Opportunity Announcement (2021)

International Partnerships

Joint Pilot Project Grant: The University of Edinburgh/McGill University Neuroscience Collaboration

McGill University and The University of Edinburgh have partnered to establish collaborative research and training opportunities in Neuroscience. This partnership focusses on the following three main areas:

  1. Autism/neurodevelopmental conditions
  2. Intellectual disabilities (with particular focus on studies using human induced pluripotent stem cells)
  3. Neurodegenerative diseases.

Within the framework of this collaboration, the partners announce a call for applications for competitive Joint Pilot Project Grants to support collaborative work in the three identified research areas. The objective of these pilot projects will be to build on synergistic interactions between the two universities to establish long-standing collaborations, ideally leading to joint external research grant applications. 

The 2020 Competition is now closed. 

For more information: PDF icon rfa_2020_joint_pilot_project_grants.pdf

For more information about upcoming funding opportunities, acar.neuro [at] (contact us).

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The Neuro is a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.




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