The Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC), on behalf of the IACC, asked Federal agencies and private organizations for information about the ASD-related research grants that they supported in 2008, including the annual budget of each project and its relevance to the six questions of the 2009 IACC Strategic Plan for ASD Research (e.g., When Should I Be Concerned? How Can I Understand What Is Happening? What Caused This To Happen and Can It Be Prevented? Which Treatments and Interventions Will Help? Where Can I Turn For Services? What Does the Future Hold?). Read more.
The 13 stakeholders that funded ASD research in 2008 contributed a total of $222,215,342 across 745 projects (Table 2). The average funding per project varied greatly between organizations, ranging from $24,643 to $2,030,264, with some organizations choosing to support a few large projects while others distributed funds across several smaller projects. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) contributed the largest amount of research funding in 2008, spending $117,969,770 on 340 projects, followed by the Simons Foundation with 77 projects totaling $42,985,684. Read more.
To better understand what areas of research were funded in 2008, projects were mapped to the corresponding questions in the 2009 Strategic Plan. Figure 2 illustrates the breakdown of the research funding according to the Plan's six questions related to diagnosis, biology, risk and protective factors, treatments, services, and lifespan issues. Identifying how current research investments correspond to the Plan will help to understand the current main areas of focus in the field, as well as areas that are currently underdeveloped. Read more.
After assessing the distribution of research funding across the Strategic Plan questions, the IACC analyzed how well the 2008 research addressed the specific goals outlined in the Plan's 40 research objectives. Each question in the Plan has several long and short-term objectives calling for specific research projects with a goal date and an estimate of the budget required to accomplish the goal. For example, the first objective in Question 1: "When Should I Be Concerned?" calls for the development of "at least one efficient diagnostic instrument that is valid in diverse populations for use in large-scale studies by 2011," with a recommended budget of $5,300,000 over two years. Read more.
The 2008 ASD research funding portfolio analysis is the first comprehensive review of ASD research funding across both the public and private sector and provides a valuable snapshot of the current funding landscape. This initial analysis will serve as the baseline for future analyses of ASD research funding to be conducted annually as part of the updating process for the IACC Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorder Research. Trends identified during the analysis can be used to address underfunded areas, identify new research opportunities and priorities, and guide the direction of future research. Read more.