On Thursday, August 2, the National Institutes of Health announced the awardees of a new funding mechanism to support autism research, called the Autism Centers for Excellence. The ACE awards will replace the Collaborative Program of Excellence in Autism (CPEA) and Studies to Advance Autism Research and Treatment (STAART) projects that have been in place since 1997. These new grants will allow the formation of both networks and centers. Networks consist of researchers who work at different facilities who are joining together to address a specific question, while centers bring specialists from different fields at the same location together to foster collaboration and better understand a particular aspect of the disorder. In order to make the research information useful to the entire community, these researchers will be utilizing the National Database for Autism Research, or NDAR to house information on clinical, genetic, and neurobiological endpoints. Awards announced for the 2007 cycle include those which focus on a broad range of topics including, but not limited to: treatment response, earlier and better identification, early intervention and potential new diagnostic tools.
All of the awardees have been closely involved with Autism Speaks, either as members of a funded consortium, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board, or a recipient of an Autism Speaks grant. Early support of these projects or these researchers represents an important and unique unique contribution of Autism Speaks, and its predecessor organizations( Autism Coalition, Cure Autism Now, and National Alliance for Autism Research), in leveraging funding for larger scale projects, and Autism Speaks is proud to have been a part of the planning and early support of these studies.
Read more about the ACE awards, who was funded for 2007 and what the projects will accomplish on the NIH site.