Our partnership with the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge ensures that our work is underpinned by world-class research.

The Autism Centre of Excellence at Cambridge (ACE) works in partnership with Cambridge University’s prestigious Autism Research Centre (ARC) and its collaborators at leading universities and research institutions worldwide.

We are committed to funding research projects that will translate into evidence based services and transformational support, via large-scale delivery partners, to improve the lives of autistic people and their families.

Building on a history of research excellence

The Autism Research Centre has over 25 years of autism research experience, often supported by our predecessor, the Autism Research Trust. It has conducted world-class research in many areas, including vulnerability, interventions, screening and diagnosis, perception and cognition, neuroscience, genetics and hormones.

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The Autism Centre of Excellence at Cambridge is focusing on research that can be translated into real-world outcomes for autistic people, building on existing experience in this area. For example, research from the Autism Research Centre in 2012 led to the inclusion of the Autism-Spectrum Quotient – 10 Items (AQ-10) in the UK clinical guidelines for autism. See

Research that autistic people find valuable

We will consult autistic people about each of our research projects to ensure our work is relevant to their priorities. This is likely to cover a range of disciplines, including psychology, education, clinical services, mental health, vulnerability, policy, genetics, neuroscience, molecular biology, and endocrinology (the study of hormones).

If you are interested in how we listen to autistic people and their families, visit our Advisory Board page, where you can also register your interest in joining.

£1million for research on Music Therapy

The Autism Centre of Excellence at Cambridge has funded a £1 million randomised control trial of music therapy for autistic children, which has the potential to improve the lives of autistic people, especially in relation to wellbeing and improved day-to-day living skills.

Should the study find that music therapy is effective and acceptable to autistic people, we will work with provider organisations to make this therapy more widely available.

Funding for research on autistic people’s experiences in the criminal justice system

A 2022 study from the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge found that defence lawyers reported half of their autistic clients were not treated as ‘vulnerable adults’ despite the law recognising them as such. In addition, half were not provided with the required ‘appropriate adult’ to safeguard their rights, and only 25% received reasonable adjustments.

This research was funded by the Autism Research Trust, and is the beginning of a process that will lead to improvements for autistic people across the criminal justice system. We will continue this vital work, working with partner organisations to apply these learnings, to develop best practice in reasonable adjustments, and help ensure the criminal justice system is autism-friendly.  

And much more to come

We are currently working with our partners to develop research projects in our other priority areas, including suicide prevention, diagnosis and education.

£1 million funding for research into Music Therapy for autistic children

The Autism Centre of Excellence is funding a £1 million randomised control trial of Music Therapy for autistic children, which will be carried out by the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge and collaborators at Anglia Ruskin and Bar Ilan Universities.

About Us

The Autism Centre of Excellence at Cambridge (ACE) translates research excellence into transformational support, bringing evidence-based approaches to autistic people around the world through our ground-breaking partnerships.

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