Call for Abstracts: Action on Autism Research - Improving Impact

The Minister for Public Health, Michael Matheson, launched the Scottish Autism Strategy on 2nd November 2011. Autism is seen as a national priority: There is a need for much greater synergy between research in autism and other areas of research and the different fields of research in autism, and in the relationships between research, theory, policy and practice. Given the importance of this agenda, members of staff from the universities of Strathclyde, Edinburgh and Aberdeen have formed a partnership with key charitable organisations in autism (Research Autism, Scottish Autism, Autism Initiatives Scotland) to develop a series of research workshops and events.

Research plays an essential role in three respects:  in providing a rigorous, valid and reliable evidence-base for understanding the key features of autism, for exploring effective approaches and interventions, and for evaluating implementation and impact.

The purpose of the seminar series is to explore the state of autism and related areas of research in Scotland in relation to these three functions. Part of this process will be to define ‘impact’, to consider how evidence supports claims of impact, to identify both research and impact gaps and to work together and across disciplines to consider how to improve the quality of autism research and maximise impact. Given the size of the autism population and the high costs associated with care and support the investment in research and quality of the evidence-base for effective treatments is low.

The series of events will present some of the key elements of autism research in Scotland as well as other parts of the UK, relating this to the current state of knowledge more broadly through international guest presentations. The presentations will identify current measures of impact and subsequent discussions will consider how the Scottish Autism Strategy implementation groups can be supported to improve understanding of the impact of such research upon the lives of the autism community in Scotland: individuals, families and professionals.

The series will comprise four two-day meetings at the University of Strathclyde between November 2013 and June 2014, culminating in a conference in autumn 2014. The first meeting will be held in Glasgow on 26th and 27th November 2013.


If you are conducting research on autism in the UK and would be interested in presenting research at one of the events, we would like to hear from you. Please email [email protected] to note interest, indicating your topic, whether you would prefer to present a talk or poster, and whether you would be available for the first seminar on 26th or 27th November. We will then send you full information about the events with guidelines on submission of a summary for consideration by the review panel.