AFSP Focus Grants on Suicide Research and Prevention
AFSP's Research Grants support studies that will increase our understanding of suicide or test treatments and other interventions that save lives.
AFSP research priority areas
We define priorities for funding every two years to stimulate research in understudied areas. We also encourage applications that address the priorities set out by the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Research Prioritization Task Force. Priority area research applications are reviewed along with the general pool of grant applications, with priority given to strong grants in the designated areas.
AFSP suicide research grants program priority areas for 2017–19
- Pain and suicide
- Opioids and suicide
We aim to fund at least one to two rigorously designed priority area grants among those awarded in each cycle. Our two-year priority period allows for resubmission of unsuccessful applications in the second year. While we encourage applications in these priority areas, we also encourage and welcome all applications related to preventing suicide. In addition we continue to maintain a strong interest in research related to survivors of suicide loss.
The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention has defined its priorities in terms of six questions
- Why do people become suicidal?
- How can we better or optimally detect/predict risk?
- What interventions are effective? What prevents individuals from engaging in suicidal behavior?
- What services are most effective for treating the suicidal person and preventing suicidal behavior?
- What other types of preventive interventions (outside health care systems) reduce suicide risk?
- What new and existing research infrastructure is needed to reduce suicidal behavior?
AFSP Suicide Research Grants support studies aimed at increasing our understanding of the causes of suicide and factors related to suicide risk, or that test treatments and other interventions designed to prevent suicide. At least one suicide outcome measure must be included in all grant projects. We also consider studies of treatment feasibility, and studies that add a suicide component (e.g., population or treatment) to an existing grant in another area.
AFSP grants are awarded for 2-year periods with the exception of Pilot Research Grants and Focus Grants.
Investigators from all academic disciplines are eligible to apply, and both basic science and applied research projects will be considered, provided that the proposed study has an essential focus on suicide or suicide prevention.
A current grantee may submit a new application as their grant nears completion but it will not be funded until completion of the current grant and submission of a Final Report.
New grantees must begin their studies within 6 months of the approved start date. Failure to begin the study within this time frame may result in withdrawal of the grant award.
Grant applications are not accepted from for-profit organizations, or from federal or state government agencies. Applications from the Veterans Administration are eligible.
If your application is not funded, you may resubmit your grant application up to two times after your initial submission. AFSP strongly encourages resubmission. If you decide to resubmit please include a letter outlining your consideration of the feedback provided on previous applications.
AFSP expects funded investigators to assist us with the important task of disseminating new research findings. In particular, we aim to disseminate findings to our constituents and donors who generate financial support for our research grants program. Following grant completion, we may invite you to present your study results at an AFSP-sponsored research forum, and expect you to provide us with periodic updates on your publications and research projects. Acceptance of AFSP grant funding assures your place in a growing community of suicide prevention researchers, and we appreciate your willingness to play an active role in that community, and in assisting us to communicate with our constituents.
Applicants should carefully review AFSP’s grant policy statements for additional guidelines and restrictions. Grant applications that do not conform to our stated policies will not be reviewed.
Assessing for Gender Identity & Sexual Orientation
Survey data suggest that individuals who are LGBT are at greater risk for suicide attempts (Haas, Eliason et al. 2011). However, confirmation of this finding is needed across a wider range of samples and using a wider range of data collection methods. In an effort to learn more about this issue we suggest that all AFSP-funded researchers who are collecting original data systematically assess research participants for sexual orientation and gender identity. Recommended methods of assessment can be found in the policy manuals. It is designed to serve as a model for federal agencies and other funders of mental health and suicide research.
Up to $500,000 per year for up to three years
Each year our research department requests applications for innovative, high-risk, potentially high-yield projects that focus on a specific area of suicide prevention. These areas have been determined by AFSP and its Scientific Council, and are reviewed and updated annually. Applicants must submit a Letter of Intent by August 1st to be eligible to apply.