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Scientific Research Grants & How to Apply

Scientific Research Grants and Fellowship Programs

Autism Speaks supports global biomedical research into the diagnosis, causes, prevention, and treatment of autism or its disabling symptoms. Our mission is to improve the future for all who struggle with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In support of that mission we provide funding along the entire research continuum - from discovery to development to dissemination - for innovative projects that hold considerable promise for significantly improving the lives of those affected by autism.

Autism Speaks plans to hold a variety of topic-specific grant calls over time. We are pleased to be able to support many different types of projects, each critical for advancing all phases of autism research. In addition to our research grants, we also offer the Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellowship and the Meixner Postdoctoral Fellowship in Translational Research.


2017 Weatherstone Fellowships – Open for Letters of Intent

Access 2017 RFA HERE.

Letter of Intent due on or before: Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 8:00 p.m. (EST)
Letter of Intent decisions: Within 2 weeks of the Letter of Intent due date
Recommendations due on or before: Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 8:00 p.m. (EST)
Application due on or before: Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 8:00 p.m. (EST)

Other Important Dates (subject to change):
Peer review panels: Spring 2017
Notification: Early summer 2017
Earliest Grant start date: November 2017

All applications must be submitted online via Autism Speaks Science Grants System.

Autism Speaks Fellowship Programs


Dennis Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellowships
Two-year fellowships for predoctoral students launching careers in autism research.

Autism Speaks established the Dennis Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellowship Program in 2008 with a generous grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Its goal is to transform the future of autism research by launching the careers of highly promising graduate students.

Following a highly competitive application and review process, each year’s new class of fellows pursues a two-year research project under the mentorship of leading investigators in the field of autism research. Already, many of our Weatherstone fellows have risen to prominence with their discoveries.

In name, this fellowship program honors the late financier Sir Dennis Weatherstone and his commitment to the education of young scientists beginning careers in autism research. His widow, Lady Marion Weatherstone, continues to take an active interest in the program and its fellows.

Weatherstone class announcements:

2009 Class                                        2013 Class

2010 Class                                        2014 Class

2011 Class                                        2015 Class

2012 Class                                       2016 Class

For notification of the next RFA opening, sign up on the RFA Notification list.  Access the 2017 RFA here.

Meixner Postdoctoral Fellowships in Translational Research

Three-year fellowships for postdoctoral scientists pursuing autism research, with mentorship in both basic and clinical research

The Meixner Postdoctoral Fellowships in Translational Research support postdoctoral researchers pursuing projects that bridge laboratory science and clinical studies enrolling people affected by autism. Each fellow works under the guidance of mentors who rank among the field's pioneers in basic and clinical research. The goal is to train a new generation of autism researchers while translating basic science into new and effective ways of diagnosing, treating and supporting individuals living with autism.

The estate of Charles Meixner established the program with a generous gift to Autism Speaks in 2013. Charles and his wife, Maria Teresa, were profoundly affected by autism when their 5-year-old daughter Caroline was diagnosed with what was then termed infantile schizophrenia.

Meixner Class Announcements

2014 Class

2015 Class

For notification of the next RFA opening, sign up on the RFA Notification list.

Also see these blog posts by our Meixner and Weatherstone Fellows:

Girls, genes and autism

An Autism Speaks fellowship launched this young scientist’s groundbreaking research on the genetics of autism in girls and women – with implications that extend across the spectrum. More...

How does sensory processing affect communication in kids with autism?

Meixner Fellow Sarah Baum describes how insights from her sensory-processing studies could help people with autism interact with the world. More...

Wired differently: Exploring brain connectivity in autism

This Autism Speaks fellow is studying brain connections to deepen understanding of autism’s challenges and strengths. More...

Why study what causes of autism?

This Autism Speaks fellow is exploring the genetic subtypes of autism to guide the development of personalized interventions. More...

Autism Speaks Science@Work: Stopping dangerous behavior

This Autism Speaks Weatherstone fellow is evaluating the best ways to safely stop violent behavior in someone who has autism. More...

Easing Anxiety in Kids with Autism and Limited Verbal Skills
Weatherstone fellow John Danial describes his inspiration to help an underserved group of children with autism. More...


Other Application/Grant Information

Announcements of new RFAs will appear on this page. Researchers can sign up to receive email notification of new RFAs by clicking HERE.

Autism Speaks Review Process

Autism Speaks' Science Program Policies 

Grant Search and Grant Metrics (brief guide)

Other Autism Funding Opportunities

Apply Online:

All proposals must be submitted online via Autism Speaks Science Grants System. Through its various user-friendly features, applicants and institutional officials can monitor the status of their applications and grants. System access instructions can be found in the RFAs.

Electronic submissions are mandatory. No paper or e-mailed applications will be accepted. For inquiries, please contact:

Joan L. New, Research Grants Manager 
Autism Speaks
1060 State Road, 2nd Floor
Princeton, NJ 08540

Phone: (609) 228-7313 |

For information on Family Services Grants, click HERE.