Project Manager: Micah Mazurek

Program intended to accelerate the pace of research and enhance capacity for autism services. Funding matched by philanthropy.

BoV Approved: December 2017

Project Dates: 7/01/2018 – 6/30/2022

Funding Awarded: $6,212,950

Executive Summary

Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that affects a rapidly increasing number of children, adults, families, and communities across the country.  As such, accelerating the pace of autism research is a federal priority.  UVA is poised to create innovative, interdisciplinary solutions that greatly improve outcomes for individuals with autism and their families through ground‐breaking research and evidence‐based training in multiple professionals.  This work will have an immediate impact on the autism knowledge base and intervention strategies as well as on the lives of individuals and families with autism. The intention is to launch this work in the Commonwealth, and in turn position UVA to achieve major innovations and research breakthroughs that extend globally.  To accomplish these goals, existing lines of research at UVA must first be expanded, the ability to attract top scholars in the autism field must be enhanced, and new interdisciplinary collaborations with pre‐eminent researchers outside the autism field who may offer fresh insights and spark new discoveries must be facilitated. Investment and support from the Board of Visitors, matched by the donations of passionate alumni and stakeholders, will establish UVA as a global leader in autism research and professional education.

Current Status: Active


This award was formally reviewed in September 2019, September 2020, and again in March 2021 at which time a no-cost extension was granted so that the project team may have the opportunity to complete goals that were delayed due to COVID-19 disruptions. The PAC deems this award exemplary in how it is following the original plan, meeting intended cross-university focus, and emerging as a center for groundbreaking work. It is lauded for being cross disciplinary, cross school, and for collaborating with outside entities. The PAC is further impressed by its exceptional progress in meeting and exceeding all milestones and metrics, particularly with establishing the autism research core and furthermore by connecting research to service; this team is building a robust infrastructure for autism research and services. They have launched numerous research pilot studies, leveraged those results to garner extramural funding which will lend itself to project sustainability beyond the SIF award end date, and they continue to establish themselves as emerging leaders in the field of autism through hosting dozens of trainings, professional meetings, workshops, and seminars. The publication list that is resulting from this SIF sponsored activity is extensive. The return on investment from this award is outstanding.