Predoctoral Fellowship Program for Autistic Scientists

Funding Agency:
Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span. Our goal is to support autistic people, their autistic and/or non-autistic family members and the broader autism community through fostering strengths and ameliorating the most disabling challenges. We  provide advocacy and support; promote understanding and acceptance of autism; and facilitate basic and clinical/translational research that aims to improve the well-being of autistic people. We support  autistic people, their families and the broader autism community with resources, online tools and through the production/dissemination of accurate information about autism and associated challenges across the life span.

The historical absence of autistic voices from autism research has contributed to a growing disconnect between researchers and the communities they hope to serve. Alongside recent calls for more stakeholder involvement in all stages of the autism research process, a greater number of openly autistic people have begun to pursue careers in autism research. Autism Speaks believes that a critical first step to increasing autistic research career success is financial support. We therefore developed a new  predoctoral fellowship that will support a promising cadre of autistic early career scientists who will choose and remain with autism research. By providing financial support to autistic researchers during their doctoral training, we hope to increase success for individuals whose combination of academic  expertise and lived experience can greatly impact the broader field of autism research.

Autism Speaks invites applications from autistic doctoral students interested in pursuing careers in autism research.

Letter of Intent (LOI) due on or before:  December 6, 2022

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

• The candidate must be an enrolled student in a program leading to a research doctorate (such as a  Ph.D. or Sc.D.) or a combined degree (such as an M.D./Ph.D.) in an academic department of an  accredited university or health/medical institution.

• Eligible applicants and institutions DO NOT need to be located in the United States. International  applications are encouraged.

• The candidate must have two or more years remaining before completing their program.

• The selected predoctoral fellow must spend at least 80% of their professional time engaged exclusively  in their Autism Speaks autism research-related activities for the duration of the award and cannot  simultaneously hold another fellowship award during the support period.

• Prior to application, predoctoral candidates must have an identified mentor for their fellowship.  

• Autism Speaks is dedicated to equity, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from Black,  racialized/visible minority, Indigenous/Aboriginal people, women, 2SLGBTQ+ persons and all other  qualified applicants.

Students can only submit one application in response to this 2023 RFA. Mentors can be listed on only one  student’s application. 

Each academic institution has its own procedure for submitting grant applications. The Responsible Official  (RO) is an institutional official who oversees how grants are administered and funds are distributed. They are authorized by the institution to apply for grants. Fellowship applicants cannot submit a grant application without the RO’s approval. A mentor cannot serve  as an RO. To determine your school’s grant procedure, first ask your mentor, department head or office of  graduate studies to explain your institution’s guidelines for grant submissions and to identify the official  responsible for grants. Duke students should contact ORS (campus) or ORA (medical) for assistance.

Amount Description

• The Autism Speaks two-year Predoctoral Fellowship awards $37,000 USD per year. • This includes a stipend of $26,000 USD plus a $11,000 annual allowance. • The annual allowance can be used for research costs and supplies, professional travel, fringe benefits  and/or tuition reimbursement. Indirect costs are not allowed. • During the two-year fellowship, awardees are ineligible to accept other grants and awards that fund the  fellow’s stipend without explicit permission from Autism Speaks.

Funding Type



Grad/Prof Students


Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational
Social Sciences

External Deadline

December 6, 2022