The Liberal National Government will provide nearly $4 million in funding for new research into autism, helping find better diagnosis, treatment and care for those affected by the developmental condition.
The research funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council has been allocated for five projects across Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales.
Professor Anthony Hannan, from the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne, will receive $571,890 for his research that will focus on understanding what causes attention deficits in Autism Spectrum Disorder.
This project will provide new insights into brain changes that cause autism and identify targets for the development of new treatments.
Autism Spectrum Disorder involves abnormal brain maturation, cognition and behaviour and about one in 150 people in Australia have some form of autism.
Autism can range from mild to severe, and include difficulty in social interaction, restricted or repetitive patterns of behaviour and impaired communication skills.
These projects bring together the best people in their field to produce high-quality research to ensure that we continue to transform lives. Every breakthrough brings us closer to an answer to autism, which makes every piece of research that much more important.
This funding continues the Government’s strong commitment to supporting the best health and medical research.
The Liberal National Government is prioritising better mental health for all Australians with an additional $338.1 million allocated in the 2018–19 Budget and $4.7 billion expected to be spent on mental health this financial year.
List of grant recipients
|Chief Investigator||Institution||Project name||Funding amount|
|Professor Anthony Hannan||Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health||What Causes Attention Deficits in Autism Spectrum Disorder?||$571,890|
|Professor Sarah Medland||QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute||Examining the impact of changes to diagnostic criteria on Autism Spectrum and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders||$1,523,438|
|Dr Jess Nithianantharajah||Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health||Mapping learning-dependent remodelling of synapse balance across the brain||$735,723|
|Professor Cheryl Dissanayake||La Trobe University||School-age Outcomes of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Parental Wellbeing: Investigations on the contribution of Method-of-Referral and Ageof- Diagnosis||$473,475|
|Dr Michael Bowen||University of Sydney||Characterising and exploiting δ subunit-containing GABA-A receptors as novel targets for treating social disorders||$634,841|
Authorised by Greg Hunt MP, Liberal Party of Australia, Somerville, Victoria.
Editor's note: while it is good to see increased funding for ASD-related research, $4 million is very small compared to $22 billion annually, the expected cost for the full NDIS. It is small even compared to 29% of $22 billion ... about 0.063%. It is not much of an investment in seeking better outcomes for autistic Australians who are the biggest distinct primary disability group in the NDIS, a group who experience some of the worst outcomes in education, employment, independent living, etc.