The first stage of providing fair and expert review for grant applications submitted to Autism Speaks consists of scientific peer review by a group of highly esteemed basic and clinical scientists. The panel uses standard guidelines for scoring grant applications with an emphasis on innovation, scientific rigor, and relevance to the mission of Autism Speaks. All reviewer conflicts of interest must be revealed prior to the panel review meeting. Conflicts of interest include, but are not limited to, employment at the same sponsoring institution and collaboration on recent or current research projects. All discussions of scientific merit are conducted in the absence of any reviewers who have declared conflicts of interest.
The peer review panel recommendations are then reviewed by the Autism Speaks Science Committee of the Board of Directors, a group of five scientific and medical experts as well as parents of children with autism. SCB funding decisions are based on scientific merit (as evaluated by the peer review panel), budgetary considerations and discussions of relevancy and priority to the mission of Autism Speaks.