In 2009, the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) launched its Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorder Research, providing a framework to guide the efforts of Federal and private funders of autism research. The IACC Strategic Plan, developed with extensive input from a broad array of Federal and public stakeholders, organizes research priorities around seven general topic areas represented as consumer-focused “Questions.” Each question is divided further into 78 research objectives that address key research needs, gaps, and opportunities identified by the Committee. Each objective includes a recommended budget that serves as an estimate of how much the Committee projects it might cost to conduct the research-related activities described.
Following the development of the IACC Strategic Plan, the Office of Autism Research Coordination – the office within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that manages the activities of the IACC – began issuing a series of IACC Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Research Portfolio Analysis Reports to provide the IACC with comprehensive information about the status of autism research funding among Federal agencies and private research organizations in the U.S. The reports align data on individual research-related projects with objectives in the IACC Strategic Plan, providing an accounting of how much funding has gone toward support of projects related to Strategic Plan objectives and highlighting trends. This information has been used to help the IACC in their efforts to monitor ASD research efforts and track progress made each year toward achievement of objectives in the IACC Strategic Plan for ASD Research. The 2011-2012 IACC ASD Research Portfolio Analysis Report, in addition to information on progress made toward each of the 78 objectives in the IACC Strategic Plan in 2011 and 2012, also provides an analysis of progress that was made over the five-year period from 2008-2012.
To accompany the IACC 2011-2012 ASD Research Portfolio Analysis Report, detailed 2011 and 2012 Federal and private organization project data are available in the IACC/OARC Autism Spectrum Disorder Research Portfolio Analysis Web Tool, a database accessible via the IACC website (https://iacc.hhs.gov/apps/portfolio-analysisweb-tool/projects). The database can be browsed and sorted by several categories, such as “Funder” or “Strategic Plan question.” A search tool enables inquiries based on more specific parameters, such as keywords that may appear in a title or project description. Launched in 2012, this database provides stakeholders with a centralized place from which to gather valuable information about ASD research that can support their efforts to serve the autism community.