The Early Career Researcher Autism Network (ECRAN) hosted their first workshop in July 2020. The workshop brought together 25 postdocs, 10 PhD students and 6 members of the autism community who are researchers themselves or who have a research interest in autism from 12 different European countries. Overall, it was a great success, with high levels of engagement and interaction throughout the event and fantastic feedback from all attendees.
The aim of the ECRAN workshop was to bring together and provide training for the next generation of early career researchers (ECRs) with an interest in autism research. Workshop attendees were offered a multi-faceted three-day programme which included presentations on biomarker research, opportunities for collaborative project development and transferable skills training on communication and participatory research.
The most popular session by far, based on attendee feedback, was the session given by members of the Autism Representatives group (A-Reps) on “Why autism research needs to include autistic people right from the beginning”. This session lead to a fantastic interactive discussion and proposals to collaborative work with the autism community on developing autism community – researcher mentoring guidelines. Several attendees also mentioned how attending the workshop increased the enthusiasm for starting new collaborative projects and generally moving forward in autism research.
ECRAN will be launching a webinar series in the autumn of 2020 and we hope to offer the second ECRAN workshop in-person in Cambridge July 2021. If you are an ECR with an interest in autism research (e.g. Postdoc, PhD student, research associate, Master’s student) and would like to join ECRAN to access webinars, events and materials; Please sign up by completing the ECRAN skills questionnaire and join our interactive Slack platform.