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Graduate Research Grant

Graduate Research Competition

Our Graduate Research Grant Competition offers grant awards of $1,000 for students conducting autism research as a requirement in pursuit of a master’s degree and $2,000 for students who are doctoral candidates or post-doctoral students. This competition is a one-step application and review process. The proposals are due in February annually. The RFP sets the specific due date. OAR announces its grant awards in May. International students and students outside the U.S. are eligible to apply.

We fund studies that will likely produce practical and clearly objective results that may aid parents, families, professionals, and people with autism to make more fully informed choices that will lead to healthier and happier lives. Note that these grants are for independent research studies only.

The application period is currently OPEN.

Online Application

Important Dates

September 11, 2023
Application Portal Opens

February 5, 2024, 11:59 PM ET
Proposals Due

May 2024
Results Announced

July 1, 2024
Grant Period Begins

Application Materials

request for applications

Request for Proposals

Learn more about the competition timeline and application process.

Download Request for Proposal

budget guidelines

Funding Guidelines

See what qualifies for budget spending.

Download Budget Guidelines

Download Budget Sample

studies funded by OAR

Studies Funded by OAR

We fund research that serves the immediate needs of the autism community. See OAR’s previously funded studies.

Funded Studies

Graduate Research Grant FAQs

Yes, international students are eligible to apply for our graduate grant competition. This does include students who are pursuing graduate degrees at institutions outside the U.S.

In order to be eligible for this grant, the graduate student must be the single investigator. If the student is a co-PI, or if the study is part of a faculty member’s ongoing research, the research project is not eligible. Please contact us at if you have any questions about your eligibility.

No, our graduate grant cycle begins in September each year and closes in February. The review process begins immediately after the deadline and extends into April. Late submissions cannot be accepted.

No, our graduate research grant competition supports research studies at the graduate or post-graduate level. Funds are not available for tuition.

OAR currently offers two lines of research funding: the Applied Research Competition and the Graduate Research Grants Program.

  • Applied Research Competition – This is OAR’s most competitive competition available. The ideal applicant is an autism researcher. While there are no eligibility restrictions based on experience or degree, many of the finalists have doctoral degrees and previous experience conducting autism research. Winners receive $50,000 for pilot studies that are 1-2 years in duration and have the potential to impact autism families in a meaningful way.
  • Graduate Research Grants Program – This competition is for graduate students conducting autism research in support of an advanced degree. Grant awards of $1,000 are offered to students for conducting autism research as a requirement in pursuit of a master’s degree and $2,000 for students who are doctoral candidates.

We notify each applicant of their status in early to mid-May via email.

The budget template can be found here. Please refer to our funding guidelines and sample budget as a guide for what we expect in a budget.

The office at the awardee’s university (e.g. Office of Sponsored Programs, Office of Grants and Contracts) will manage the grant funds.

Your letter of support should be written by your faculty advisor or mentor. Letters of support take a variety of forms and are not required to answer particular questions about you or your proposal. That said, recent grant recipients’ letters of support have addressed some or all of the following:

  • The applicant’s relevant experience, credentials, and qualities
  • The strengths and/or relevance of the applicant’s research proposal
  • How the applicant’s institution is equipped to support the research project