University of CambridgeAutism Research Centre, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
The Autism Research Centre (ARC) is an internationally respected leading autism research group and part of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge. The ARC brings together over 20 active research staff including doctoral students. It is part of the National Institute of Health Research and Collaboration in Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care for Mental Health in the NHS East of England and the Cambridge NIHR Biomedical Research Centre. The University of Cambridge was part of the UK MRC AIMS and EU-AIMS consortia. The ARC is also a part of the Autistica Autism Research Network UK, enabling data sharing between autism research centres across the UK. The ARC works closely with Autistica, the National Autistic Society, the Autism Research Trust and works with INSAR on international autism research leadership.
The University of Cambridge’s Principle Investigator is Professor Baron-Cohen, Director of the Autism Research Centre, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Clinical Director of CLASS Clinic (1999-present) and Professor in Developmental Psychopathology, University of Cambridge, Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology (2001-present).
Role in AIMS-2-TRIALS
UCAM is responsible for the overall coordination of the AIMS-2-TRIALS work on autism policies and communication. One of the main goals is to assure appropriate communication and involvement at each stage – especially including autistic people and their families.
The UCAM Lead is Professor Simon Baron-Cohen. Dr Rosie Holt, Research Associate, is the University of Cambridge Coordinator for the AIMS-2-TRIALS policy and communication work, and site coordinator for the Longitudinal European Autism Project (LEAP). Dr Joyce Man is a Research Associate leading on the autism policy work. Dr Amber Ruigrok, also a Research Associate, is leading on communication & dissemination, as well as the educational programme. Dr Tracey Parsons is the AIMS-2-TRIALS Science Communicator, and Deborah Oakley is a Research Assistant working across all of these areas. Professor Mark Johnson is Head of the Department of Psychology and involved in the studies on brain activity and behaviours in early life and pre-school children.
- In our work on Autism Policy, together with co-leads Autistica and Autism-Europe, we will coordinate the first European-wide autism community consultation group (Autism Representatives). This group will include autistic self-advocates as well as parents representing their autistic children. We aim to identify existing autism policies, factors that improve or hinder their implementation, and any gaps in current policy across Europe. We will consider how these might be improved and harmonised.
- The goal of the Communication work is to update the public, autism community, clinicians and researchers on the consortium’s scientific progress, educational and outreach activities provided by the AIMS-2-TRIALS consortium.
- Educational and outreach activities will be developed for the Educational Programme and will include webinars, short courses, and an art-science exhibition, all co-designed by the autism community.
- UCAM is also part of the Longitudinal European Autism Project (LEAP), and is involved in data collection and analysis.