Over the past nine years in the United States (U.S.), the Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has published an annual report describing and analyzing the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research portfolio across multiple government and non-government funders in the U.S. The report provides comprehensive information about autism research funding to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), a U.S. federal advisory body, to help in its efforts to monitor ASD research efforts and trends. For the first time, a similar approach has been used to analyze ASD research across four countries – the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia – to better understand the global ASD research funding landscape.From the
- Screening and Diagnosis: Each of the four countries has similar proportions in funding in screening and diagnosis, with nearly a tenth of each country’s funding going towards this research area.
- Biology of ASD: For the U.K., U.S., and Canada, biology was the greatest area of investment. For Australia, biology received a significant investment, although it was not its most well-funded research area.
- Risk Factors: Research into identifying risk factors was the largest funded area in Australia, the second largest funded area in the U.S. and the third largest funded area in Canada. The U.K. did not fund research for risk factors in 2016.
- Treatments and Interventions: Across all four countries, treatments and interventions saw considerable portions of funding.
- Services: Services research had varying degrees of investment. Australia had the largest proportion of investment in services research among the four countries. For the U.K. and Canada, it was the least funded area of research.
- Lifespan Issues: Research on lifespan issues received a similar proportion of funding in Australia, Canada, and the U.K., whereas it was the least funded area of research in the U.S.
- Infrastructure and Surveillance: There were also differences in infrastructure and surveillance investment among the four countries. It was the second largest funded area in Australia and had a significant portion of funding in the U.S., however it was a small portion of funding for Canada and the U.K. in 2016.