The International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) is an annual scientific meeting, convened each spring, to exchange and disseminate new scientific progress among ASD scientists and their trainees from around the world. The first and primary aim of the meeting is to promote exchange and dissemination of the latest scientific findings and to stimulate research progress in understanding the nature, causes, and treatments for ASD. Research on ASD involves sophisticated behavioral and biological approaches. ASD affects people’s functioning in virtually every domain, requiring interdisciplinary research collaboration to gain comprehensive knowledge of the disorder.
A second aim of the meeting is to foster dialogue among ASD scientists across disciplines and across methods.
The third aim is to promote the training and development of new ASD scientists by supporting the inclusion of postdoctoral and predoctoral trainees as well as junior faculty who are already working in ASD research. The opportunity for trainees and junior faculty to interact with established ASD scientists will foster the creativity and productivity of those at all levels.
The fourth aim is to foster diversity among ASD scientists by encouraging attendance and supporting access to the meeting for scientists and trainees from members of traditionally underrepresented groups, including those from ethnic minority groups, and those with disabilities.
The International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) was convened for the first time in November 2001, to provide ASD researchers from around the world with a focused opportunity to share the rapidly moving scientific investigation of ASD.
Until that meeting, ASD researchers competed with many other groups for the opportunity to share their work at large scientific meetings that covered a wide range of topics. While other meetings provided some opportunity to share high quality ASD research, none of them focused specifically on ASD. Funding for ASD research has increased steadily, highlighted by the emergence of private foundations, such as Autism Speaks and several NIH initiatives: The Autism Centers for Excellence (ACE), which replaces earlier NIH programs - The Collaborative Programs of Excellence in Autism (CPEA) and the Studies to Advance Autism Research and Treatment (STAART) network program. Stimulating more scientific progress in understanding ASD requires dedicated yearly venue for ASD researchers to share their findings and their resources.
Scientific progress in ASD also requires the continuous development of new scientists, from many disciplines. Scientific progress in ASD is dependent upon increasing the number and expertise of scientists working in this ASD from the wide array of the biological and behavioral sciences. Given the complex biological and behavioral nature of ASD, interdisciplinary training and ongoing mentoring of new scientists and promising graduate students is necessary to recruit talented young people in ASD research. We want to provide them with the motivation and mentoring needed to focus a career on ASD and related developmental disorders. Having an annual interdisciplinary meeting focused on scientific progress in understanding and treating ASD provides an unparalleled opportunity for recognizing, supporting, and motivating talented graduate students and postdoctoral fellows into a career in ASD research.
The IMFAR meeting does not offer continuing education credits.