A Request for Applications (RFA) is proposed entitled “Autism Centers of Excellence.” The proposed RFA will use the NIH Specialized Center (P50) and Research Project (R01) grant award mechanisms.
The Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) were first established in 2007 to consolidate and coordinate funding activities within NIH to maximize efficiency and outcomes. The findings of the ACE research projects have significantly moved the field forward in the areas of neurobiology and developmental pathways involved in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), genetic and environmental risk factors and treatments for these disorders. The current ACE program also fulfills the much needed gaps of understanding minimally verbal, school-aged children with ASD and understudied population as well as the requirement for providing a research training environment and for educating and disseminating research findings to the community.
The purpose of the FY2017 ACE initiative is to encourage research grant applications that are designed to advance the state of the science in the etiology, epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, and optimal means of service delivery as outlined in the IACC Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Research-2013 update (https://iacc.hhs.gov/strategic-plan/2013/index.shtml).
The ACE initiative funds two types of efforts: Centers and multi-site research Networks. ACE Centers support integrative, multi-disciplinary, coordinated programs of research that demonstrate cohesion and synergy across research projects and cores use (P50). By contrast, ACE Networks will be supported by the R01 mechanism for multi-site projects focusing on a specific topic of research. The purpose of the current RFA is to solicit new and competing continuation proposals for both types of ACEs.
Research projects should incorporate the latest techniques and propose studies that focus on finding causes for and prevention of ASD as well as on improved treatment. Highest priority will be given to projects that address gaps identified by the IACC 2013 Strategic Plan.
The objective of this RFA is to support ACE centers and networks that will conduct research projects in ASD that deepens our understanding of ASD, including the complex genetic and environmental factors that play a role in its causation, development of improved ASD diagnostic approaches and treatments, and science to enhance the level of services and supports available to people with ASD, their families and caregivers. Applicants are encouraged to focus on the needs of adults with ASD and individuals with substantial cognitive deficits and on development of interventions for co-occurring or associated conditions.
Alice Kau, PhD
Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Branch
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