Mission and goals
The mission of the Simons Center for the Social Brain is to understand the neural mechanisms underlying social cognition and behavior, and to translate this knowledge into better diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders.
Neural correlates of social cognition and behavior exist in diverse species, and the underlying mechanisms will be studied in both humans and relevant model organisms and systems. We expect that experimental approaches will take advantage of strengths at MIT in genetics and genomics, molecular and cell biology, analyses of neural circuits and systems, cognitive psychology, mathematics and engineering.
MIT faculty members with an interest in autism research may apply as the PI on a seed research grant. We seek innovative research projects that are directly relevant to autism and that bridge at least two different MIT labs, or one MIT lab and another at a Boston-area institution (typically a hospital). The expectation is that the seed funds will enable the collection of pilot data on bold new projects, bringing the work to the point where it can be funded through standard channels after the first year. This mechanism will provide a single year of support, at a maximum level of $100,000 in direct costs (indirect costs need not be included in the budget).
The project must involve one MIT faculty member as PI and at least one other independent researcher as co-PI from a different lab. When a MIT PI applies with a co-PI from another Boston-area institution, the funds will be budgeted for spending at MIT. Successful applicants can apply later for a second year of funding, but the application will be considered in competition with all submitted applications (including new ones).
Applications for postdoctoral fellowships (named Simons Postdoctoral Fellowships) are sought from candidates with PhD or MD degrees who aim to conduct research at MIT that is relevant to autism. These prestigious fellowships are open to candidates nationwide. They are designed to enhance and showcase autism research at MIT and will be awarded to candidates who propose innovative research bridging at least two different labs.
Each postdoctoral applicant must have a primary advisor who is a MIT faculty member, and a secondary advisor who is an independent researcher at another MIT lab or Boston-area institution. While the fellowships are open to candidates currently at MIT, our goal is to attract outstanding external candidates. MIT faculty members are encouraged to bring these fellowships to the attention of exceptional candidates who wish to come to MIT for postdoctoral training as Simons Fellows.
The Simons Postdoctoral Fellowships will provide a competitive stipend plus an allowance for health insurance, travel and research-related expenses. The fellowships will be awarded for 2 years, conditional upon satisfactory progress at the end of the first year.
For information on how to apply for either seed grants or postdoctoral fellowships, please visit the SCSB website.