Autism Speaks places a high priority on innovation and has designed the Trailblazer Award to respond quickly to fund highly novel transformative projects. The Trailblazer Award mechanism supports 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.
The proposed Trailblazer project:
- Must explore a highly novel, research idea, technique, or technology 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., not likely be supported though other Autism Speaks grants programs, including pilot studies.
- May come from newer or established investigators with a demonstrated background 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.