The autism research community has expanded substantially in recent years and SFARI has contributed to this change by attracting outstanding established scientists to the field of autism. In order to sustain this level of scientific excellence in future years, SFARI developed the Bridge to Independence (BTI) Award program in 2015 in order to extend our support to promising early-career investigators. One of the most salient milestones in a scientific career is the transition from mentored fellowship to an independent position. Unfortunately, numerous factors within the modern biomedical ecosystem have also made this transition one of the most vulnerable attrition points in the academic career pipeline1. The SFARI BTI Award program was created to help mitigate this systematic issue and to encourage continued excellence in the autism research field.