The 2010 ASD Research Funding Portfolio Analysis Report is the third comprehensive annual review of ASD research funding across both the Federal and private sectors and provides a valuable snapshot of the current funding landscape. Total funding for ASD research in 2010 amounted to $408,577,276 spread across 1,367 projects. Data were collected from 18 Federal and private funders, including 5 funders that were new to the 2010 Portfolio Analysis. Because of the information gathered from these new funders, as well as increased reporting of activity in autism research from other funders, it is difficult to meaningfully compare the 2010 funding level to previous years. Total ASD research funding captured in the 2009 Portfolio Analysis was a little more than $314 million and in the 2008 report was $222 million. The sustained and overall increase in autism investments each year indicates ongoing support and prioritization for this research, both in the Federal and private funding spheres.
The influx of ARRA funding in 2009 and 2010 enabled Federal funders to significantly augment their support of autism research. Overall, ARRA funds comprised 17% ($123 million) of all ASD research funding in 2009 and 2010. Most of the funding was awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), but the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) also reported 2 ARRA projects in 2010 (about $1 million total) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded about $1.3 million in ARRA funds in 2010. (AHRQ and NSF were both new to the 2010 Portfolio Analysis, so 2009 ARRA award amounts were not reflected in the 2009 or 2010 Portfolio Analysis Reports.)
One aim of the 2010 Portfolio Analysis was to evaluate progress made in addressing research priorities identified in the 2011 IACC Strategic Plan. To that end, the analysis indicated that 83% of the 78 objectives in the IACC Strategic Plan were fully or partially fulfilled by research that was ongoing in the 2010 funding year, with only 13 objectives lacking any funding support. Of the sixteen new objectives added to the 2011 Plan, fourteen of them were already underway in 2010.
The subcategory analysis of research projects within each question of the Strategic Plan was new to the 2010 Portfolio Analysis. Dividing the research into more general subcategories complements the analysis of projects according to Strategic Plan objectives to present a comprehensive picture of the autism research funding landscape, including the areas that are not specific to a particular research objective. Over time, this subcategory analysis will allow tracking of growth and change in general research areas, including emergence of new fields that attract investment from research funders.
The IACC/OARC will continue to conduct annual portfolio analyses as a part of the Committee's charge to monitor research and to inform the process of updating the IACC Strategic Plan for ASD Research. Trends identified during the analysis can be used by the Committee and other Federal, private, and State funders to address gap areas, identify emerging trends and new research opportunities, and guide future research directions. By tracking new developments in autism research and inviting regular input from the community, the Committee will be well-equipped to continue charting the course toward a portfolio of research that meets the most pressing needs of families and individuals affected by ASD.