What Researchers and Students Should Know about the Organization for Autism Research's Grantmaking

There are two annual grantmaking programs at the Organization for Autism Research: one for graduate students and another for professional researchers. Here's what both groups need to know heading into the 2016 grant cycle.

Graduate Student Grants

This grant program awards $2,000 research grants to doctoral-level students and $1,000 to master’s-level students. Since the program began in 2004, it has awarded at least 105 grants, totaling over $189,000. The grant opportunities here are available to both U.S. and international students, but most go to U.S. applicants.

OAR is looking for grant proposals that promote the following types of research:

  • The analysis, evaluation, or comparison of assessment models, treatment models, or service systems.
  • Applied aspects of early and/or school-based education, behavioral, or communication intervention.
  • Adult issues such as containing education, employment, housing models and “later intervention.”
  • Issues related to family support, social and community integration, and assessment and intervention with challenging behavior.

Only up to 10 percent of these grants can be used for administrative costs. The grant money should be used for materials and resources for your study, fees for data collection and analysis, up to 50 percent for stipends and reimbursements, and travel costs related to the research.

For 2015, OAR received 26 proposals, with 10 chosen for funding. The criteria for selection include alignment with OAR’s research priorities, methodological soundness, and relevance of the potential findings for people with autism. The 2015 recipients attend institutions including City University of New York, University of Georgia, University of Miami, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute.  

Master’s and doctoral students should know that OAR is now accepting applications for the 2016 Graduate Research Grant Competition. The deadline for proposals is February 15, 2016, and research must be conducted between July 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017. Contact OAR’s other program and outreach associate, Wendy McKinnon, at 703-243-3466 or at wmckinnon@researchautism.org with questions about this program.

Professional Researcher Grants

Professional researcher funding of up to $30,000 per recipient is available, and this program has supported over $3 million in grant awards since its founding in 2002. OAR is looking for the same types of research as bullet-pointed above for the graduate program. These grants fund studies that last one or two years.

Up to 20 percent of grant money can be used for administrative costs for professionals. OAR wants to see researchers use these funds for time and salary for researchers, materials used to conduct the study, data and analysis fees, travel, and reimbursements.

In 2015, OAR awarded six professional research grants. These researchers came from the University of Colorado, University of North Carolina, University of Notre Dame, Michigan State University, the Children’s National Health System, and UC Santa Barbara. The researchers’ studies focused on issues including intervention for high school students, emotional support for caregivers, and predicting adult outcomes.

Professional researchers should know that OAR is accepting online grant applications until March 28, 2016. Your best point of contact for questions about this program is Kimberly Ha at 703-243-9762 or via email at kha@researchautism.org

To learn even more about this funder's background and priorities, check out IP's full profile, Organization for Autism Research: Grants for Brain Research and Treatment