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A Portfolio Analysis of Autism Research Funding in Australia, 2008–2017

Abstract

Autism research funding across the world has disproportionately been invested in biological and genetic research, despite evidence that these topics are not prioritized by community members. We sought to determine whether a similar pattern was evident in Australia’s autism research funding landscape between 2008 and 2017, by analysing the nation’s portfolio of autism research investments. We also examined whether there was any change in this pattern of funding since the establishment in 2013 of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC). Overall, Australian autism research funding during 2008–2017 followed a similar pattern to other countries, but shifted in the past 5 years. Further progress is required to bring research funding into line with community priorities.

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC), established and supported under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program. Data were sourced from Dimensions, an inter-linked research information system provided by Digital Science (https://www.dimensions.ai).

Funding

Jacquiline den Houting holds a Postdoctoral Research Associate position funded by the Autism CRC. This research project received financial support from the Autism CRC (Project Number 0.011RS). The Autism CRC had no involvement in the design, analysis, interpretation, or write-up of this project.

Author information

Both authors contributed to the study conception and design. Funding search, initial coding, and data analyses were conducted by Jacquiline den Houting. Secondary coding was conducted by Elizabeth Pellicano. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Jacquiline den Houting, and Elizabeth Pellicano commented on previous versions of the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Correspondence to Jacquiline den Houting.

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den Houting, J., Pellicano, E. A Portfolio Analysis of Autism Research Funding in Australia, 2008–2017. J Autism Dev Disord 49, 4400–4408 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-019-04155-1

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Keywords

  • Autism
  • Portfolio analysis
  • Funding
  • Australia
  • Research priorities
  • Participatory