Autistica is pleased to announce a three-year partnership with the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) to fund research about how to provide safe and effective social care that enables autistic adults to live happy, healthy and long lives.

The Autistica and NIHR partnership will mean increased investment in adult social care research that involves autistic people over a three year period. Autistica will provide additional funding (up to £100,000) to five autism-specific research projects that are awarded funding (up to £350,000) from the NIHR Research for Social Care Call.

In addition to co-funding projects with NIHR, Autistica will run an annual competition for up to £20,000 per year of Social Care Grant Development Awards.

Timeline for year 1 of Autistica Grant Development Awards and Autistica-NIHR partnership

  1. April 2021 - Applications open for the Autistica Social Care Grant Development Awards
  2. May 2021 - Deadline for the Autistica Social Care Grant Development Awards
  3. July 2021 - Outcome announced for Autistica Grant Development Awards
  4. September 2021 - Stage 1 applications open for NIHR Research for Social Care Call
  5. January 2022 - Stage 1 deadline for NIHR Research for Social Care Call
  6. August 2022 - Final outcome announced for NIHR Research for Social Care Call


At least 700,000 people in the UK are autistic, many autistic people access social care at some point in their life. Yet there is little evidence about how best to deliver social care that is both safe and effective at helping autistic people live happy, healthy and long lives.

In 2016, Autistica worked with the NIHR-funded James Lind Alliance and found that finding effective models of adult social care was the third-highest community research priority.

Building on this, in 2019 Autistica hosted a Social Care Summit which brought together autistic people and families, researchers, health and social care professionals. Together we identified key evidence gaps and collaboratively developed ideas for research that could tackle common inequalities faced by autistic people who currently receive either no social care support or under-evidenced support.

Today's announcement is a partnership that we are pleased to say is building on a longstanding Autistica and NIHR collaboration to maximise the impact of autism research.

This partnership is made possible by the support of CareTech Charitable Foundation.