Graduate Grant Competition Now Open | Organization for Autism Research

OAR News

OAR invites graduate students to submit research proposals for its annual Graduate Research Grant Program. OAR accepts proposals from students pursuing graduate studies in the United States and abroad. The maximum award for master’s candidates is $1,000, while doctoral and post-doctoral candidates are eligible for a maximum award of $2,000. Interested students may apply online, and proposals will be accepted through Monday, February 8, 2021. Interested students should first review the 2021 Request for Proposals, as well as OAR’s funding guidelines.

Since the program was established in 2004, OAR has awarded over $288,156 in grants to fund 161 graduate research studies. Last year, OAR made grants to 12 students with grant awards totaling $18,186. OAR hopes to build on this success in 2021, continuing its commitment to support the next generation of applied autism researchers. The intention of the program is to support independent research in:

  • The analysis, evaluation, or comparison of assessment models, treatment models, or service systems
  • Applied aspects of early intervention and school-based education, including behavior and communication
  • Adult issues such as continuing education, employment, housing, and “later intervention”
  • Issues related to family support, social and community integration, and assessment and intervention with challenging behaviors

OAR’s goal is to fund studies that will likely produce practical and clearly objective results that can help parents, families, professionals, and autistic people make more fully informed choices, leading to healthier and happier lives. OAR will only make grant awards for studies to be conducted during the grant period, which lasts from July 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021.

OAR’s Scientific Council will evaluate the proposals it receives for scientific and technical merit. Review criteria for the evaluation include:

  • Significance: Does the study address an important problem? How will it advance scientific knowledge in the field?
  • Approach: Are the concepts, design, methods, and analyses adequate and appropriate? Are alternate approaches accounted for?
  • Innovation: Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches, or methods? Are its aims original? Does it challenge existing paradigms?
  • Meaningful outcomes: OAR places special emphasis on the research’s importance to the autism community and its application to the practical challenges of autism. While a proposal’s scientific merit in terms of design, methodology, and analysis are vital, the meaningfulness of its outcomes will carry great weight in the final review.

OAR’s Board of Directors will make grant awards based on these evaluations and the recommendations of the Scientific Council. OAR will announce grant recipients in May 2021 and make the awards in July 2021. For more information, please contact us at or 703-243-3466.


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