Department of Psychology

New research centre aims to create an autism-friendly world

Thu Jul 21 11:52:00 BST 2016

A boy wearing headphones looking out of a window. Photo from Shutterstock (260857394)

— The Centre will undertake world-leading research.


A new Centre for Applied Autism Research has been launched that aims to create an autism-friendly world through world-leading research at the University of Bath.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition thought to affect 1.1% of the UK population, which is 700,000 people in the UK. If you include families, the NHS reports that autism impacts upon the daily lives of over two million people in the UK. The estimated cost of supporting people on the autism spectrum in the UK is £27.7 billion per-annum.

The new Centre is to be led by Dr Mark Brosnan, along with Dr Chris Ashwin, Dr Ailsa Russell and Dr Katie Maras from the Department of Psychology. The staff are also working closely with the charity Research Autism.

The Centre plans to offer resources to support children and adults affected by autism. But there are wider ambitions to involve and take direction from members of the autistic community in the portfolio of research.

‘Autistic individuals will be directly involved as leading the research agenda and as partners in research and researchers - not simply passive participants of research. We will encourage the involvement of autistic researchers and ensure that the conditions at the Centre are fully autism-friendly.’ comments Dr Mark Brosnan.

Speaking about the launch, Professor Bas Verplanken (Head of Department) commented: “The Centre is exactly what our department stands for: cutting edge research applied to important issues in our society. I hope the Centre not only generates high quality research and useful applications, but will also contribute to eliminate the stigma that autism carries”.

In addition to the launch of the Centre, the team are working on the next Autism Summer School which allows students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to experience aspects of university and student life. The event will take place on campus this September.