The Autistica Network is the UK's largest autism research network. Through the activities of the Autistica Network we support researchers and the community to come together to undertake highly impactful autism research.

What does the Autistica Network do?

The Autistica Network focuses on four activities to support high quality autism research. These are:

The Network Steering Committee 

The committee brings together autistic people, family members, early career researchers, established researchers, involvement experts and a range of expertise to support Autistica in the running of the Autistica Network. All members have declared their possible conflict of interest.

Sue Bailey - Chair

Professor Dame Sue Bailey OBE DBE FRCPsych is based in the North West of England where she works as a clinician and academic. Her clinical work and research focus on complex needs of young people and their families, improving mental health care, working in partnership with service users and lobbying for rights of and better services for vulnerable young people.

Lisa Wood

Lisa Wood is the mother of William who has autism and learning difficulties. She has been involved in many projects at Autistica and, as a journalist, has written about aspects of her personal experience of autism for the charity. In her work as a journalist, she had written extensively about disability.

Carole Buckley

Dr Carole Buckley is a retired GP and currently holds the role of the Royal College of General Practitioners clinical representative for autism. Carole has an autistic son and continues to utilise her expertise to ensure that autistic people are considered in both research and strategic clinical decision.

Mark Minott

Dr Mark Minott has been involved with Autistica since 2017 primarily in reviewing research proposals requesting the use of the Autistica database. He is a father to an autistic child and is passionate about supporting research that seeks to improve the lives of those in the Autistic community.

Karen Matthews

Karen Matthews is a Business Development Manager at NIHR Clinical Research Network with over 13 years of experience in managing Research Networks.

Bec Hanley

Bec Hanley has over 20 years of experience within public and patient involvement, she uses this expertise to support others to develop their skills and ensure that involvement is done authentically.

Laura Crane

Dr Laura Crane is an Associate Professor at University College London, where she is Deputy Director of the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE). Laura’s research focuses on supporting autistic people in the areas of education, healthcare and criminal justice. Central to all of Laura’s research is a commitment to conducting research with autistic people, as opposed to on, about or for them.

Jeremy Parr

Professor Jeremy Parr is a Paediatric Neurodisability clinical academic working between Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Cumbria Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust. Jeremy sees young people and families in NHS clinics every week. He brings extensive experience of autism research across the lifespan, clinical trials and managing large participant studies such as the Autism Spectrum Database-UK (children and families) and the Autism Spectrum Cohort-UK (autistic adults and relatives).

Sue Fletcher-Watson

Professor Sue Fletcher-Watson is of developmental psychology and director of the Salvesen Mindroom Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh. Her research has focused on how children grow and learn, with a particular focus on non-normative experiences, such as autism and preterm birth. Sue works closely with autistic-led organisations in Scotland and has founded a charity providing residential holidays for children and young people with learning disabilities.

Lorcan Kenny

Lorcan Kenny is the National Research Lead for Autism at NHS England where he holds responsibility for the implementation of a National Autism Research Strategy for England. Lorcan is committed to increasing collaboration between researchers and policy makers to ensure high quality evidence is used in real world policy decisions. Prior to his current role, Lorcan was the Head of Research at Autistica and was previously based at the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) at University College London, where he completed a PhD about autistic adolescents daily living skills.

Bethan Davies

Bethan Davies has a wide range of experience championing neurodiverse voices and experiences, including through public and patient involvement, EDI working groups and inclusive event design. Bethan is the Information and Advisory Services manager for Samaritans' Online Harms team; prior to this, Bethan was the Engagement and Events Manager at Autistica and previously worked for the National Autistic Society.

Keren MacLennan

Dr Keren MacLennan is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Reading and also works as an assistant clinical psychologist with autistic children. Her research has so far focused on anxiety and sensory reactivity in autistic children and adults.

Freddie Adu

Freddie Adu is Executive Head at Queensmill School and at Kensington Queensmill School. Freddie is an experienced leader with a passion for providing the best possible educational experiences for autistic students.

Gabriella Sepsik

Gabriella Sepsik is a young woman studying an MA in Creative Writing and Education. She lives in London with her wife, Jade, who is also autistic. Gabby hopes to complete a PhD to educate writers about neurodiversity and to be able to give a voice to autistic individuals. Gabby is a member of Autistica’s Insight Group.

Jack Welch

Jack Welch is an autistic advocate and highly experienced with roles across the charity and health sectors for over a decade. His most recent involvement has been as part of an autistic advisory group and PPI member for the STRATA study, based at the University of Bristol. Jack is a member of Autistica’s Insight Group.