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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Autism Research Funding Declines

From DisabilityScoop

By Shaun Heasley
April 27, 2017

Spending on autism research is down, according to a new federal report, after the nation’s largest source of such funds chopped its contribution.

Less funding from the National Institutes of Health largely accounted for
a drop in autism research dollars in 2013, according to a new report.

Nearly $305.6 million went to studying autism in 2013, newly-released data indicates, including projects focused on the biology of the developmental disorder, treatments and interventions, diagnosis and services, among other issues. That’s a drop from $331.9 million the year prior.

The figures come from a report issued this week by the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory panel comprised of government officials and members of the autism community. The annual analysis provides a snapshot of spending by 18 public and private entities on 1,279 projects.


Federal dollars accounted for 76 percent of all autism research funds. The majority of that money came from the National Institutes of Health and a decrease in that agency’s budget in 2013 is likely to blame for the overall decline in federal funding, the report indicated.

The Simons Foundation and Autism Speaks were the biggest sources of private money, contributing about $50 million and $18 million, respectively.

“While overall funding for autism research decreased by $26 million from 2012 to 2013, the proportion of federal and private funding remained relatively constant over this period, with the proportion only shifting by roughly 2 percent from federal to private since 2012,” the report found.

About a third of research dollars went toward understanding the biology of autism. Projects looking at treatments and interventions as well as risk factors each accounted for nearly 20 percent. Lesser amounts were devoted to screening and diagnosis, infrastructure and surveillance, services and lifespan issues.

Despite the year-over-year decline in spending on autism research, the IACC report noted that funding has trended upward since 2008, rising by 38 percent.

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