Impact Plan Logo

We don't want to just raise money and do research, we want our work to have real impact on autistic people's lives. We know we can't do that alone. This is how we plan to work with others to increase our impact every day.

Our plan for impact is focused on our mission: long healthy, happy lives for every autistic person.

Why impact matters 

Autistic people still face some of the poorest life chances of any group in society. Our work must translate into changes in policy, healthcare and awareness if we are to address these unacceptable statistics.



Our achievements so far

We've become the leading autism research charity in the UK, focusing on the needs of autistic people throughout their lives. Through consultations such as the James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership we are able to focus our work on community priorities.

We have set up the Discover network to ensure that autistic people and families are involved in everything we do. Discover links researchers throughout the UK with the community to ensure research can have maximum relevance and impact.


How we work

We want to ensure that every pound we spend and every activity we carry out has maximum impact. This diagram shows our pathway towards achieving our vision of longer, healthier, happier lives.

Our Impact Model

Ensuring impact

We know that we can only make an impact if we ensure that our research is of the highest quality and involves the right people at every stage. 

These four standards will help us reach maximum impact:   

High quality science

Our focus is on improving outcomes for autistic people by acting as a catalyst. We fund the most promising early-stage scientific ideas to demonstrate their potential to other, larger funders, ultimately building projects with lasting impact and global reach. We recognise the importance of supporting the entire scientific ‘pipeline’ from basic laboratory science to applied research. 

We fund the best science thanks to robust governance with high quality community and scientific review in line with the gold-standard Association of Medical Research Charities  (AMRC) guidelines.

Involving our community

In 2017, we launched Discover, the UK’s national autism research network. Discover allows us to link researchers and the autism community and share research findings. Only by working together can we  

Within Discover we have an Insight Group and Study Groups on specific topics who advise on the direction of research. 

We also host Global Summits focused on areas that the autistic community believes urgently need further research. These workshops bring together leading experts: both researchers and the autism community to develop research plans that can be transformed into high quality projects.

Making the UK an autism research leader

We have come to understand that positive change can only happen if we involve the right people and develop a passionate and loyal research workforce.

We invest in autistic talent. Our Charles Sharland Grant Scheme for Autistic Researchers pairs autistic people with research mentors, providing them with funding and support to kickstart their career in research.  

We develop future leaders  - providing early career researchers with the funding they need to who develop an autism research career.

Working in partnership

We’re committed to working collaboratively with others who can help us make our vision a reality. 

We work with the media to ensure autism and autism research is accurately represented.

We influence national, regional and local policy to highlight the latest evidence and push for policy change and improvements to services. 

We work with researchers to involve the community, communicate effectively and increase the policy impact of their work. We are investing in resources, training and guidance to support them.

We work with many charities within autism and beyond to increase their understanding of research, reduce duplication of effort and achieve common goals. 


What can slow down impact?

It is common that research doesn't translate into improvements in healthcare. We don't accept that. We've identified five key things that can prevent our work from impacting people's lives.

Five Barriers To Impact

We have a strategy to tackle each of these barriers in our Impact Plan.

Our impact commitment

We’ve set ourselves the challenge of transforming how we track and measure our impact.  Our plan involves a constant cycle of listening, learning and innovating. We welcome your help, your views and your ideas.

We will regularly update the figures on this page so that you can follow our progress. 

Any questions or suggestions? Email Lorcan.Kenny@autistica.org.uk

Pears Foundation Logo 1
Thank you to the Pear's Foundation for supporting the development of our impact plan.