Summer Internship
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Apply Now for 2020 INSAR Summer Research Internship in Autism and Cultural Diversity

Application Deadline:  January 10, 2020 - CLOSED

Notification of Awards:  February 2020

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In recognition of the increased need for the field of autism to incorporate global perspectives and issues of cultural diversity in scientific research, the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) Cultural Diversity Committee invites research proposals from highly qualified undergraduate and graduate students interested in cultural diversity issues relevant to autism.

The proposed research must be human subject-based and should specifically address topics related to cultural diversity in autism research, including, but not limited to, diagnosis in under-represented populations, identification of autism in immigrants, and research in low and middle income countries (LMIC). Research should have a cultural diversity focus as defined and reflected with the mission with the mission of the Cultural Diversity Committee.

The INSAR Cultural Diversity Committee will provide a total of two (2) awards to undergraduate and/or graduate students from domestic (US) and/or international institutions. Students from a historically under-represented group or LMIC who are currently enrolled at an accredited institution will receive priority. Research must be conducted in an accredited university or a research institution under the supervision of a highly qualified mentor with a full-time faculty position and documented autism research experience. Duration of the award period must be between May 2020 and August 2020, and may be determined by the mentor and mentee, but justified by a proposed timeline (minimum of 8 weeks). The student must be physically present at the host institution of the mentor to carry out the proposed research during the summer internship period (May – August). 


Award in the amount $4,500 USD will be made directly to the university/research institution sponsoring the research. The award total includes a $3,000 stipend, $1,000 allowance for housing and travel expenses to the host institution, and $500 for costs associated with your research project. Funds provided must not be used to cover tuition payments. Students will also be provided with an allowance of $1,000 (USD) for housing and roundtrip travel to the site of the host institution. Economy travel and accommodations will also be reimbursed for the intern to attend the INSAR 2021 Annual Meeting.



Applicant: Applicants must be current INSAR members and currently enrolled undergraduate/graduate students in good standing with an accredited institution. The research should take place at a university other than the one where the student is enrolled. The student must be located within the same country as their mentor. If accepted, students are responsible for obtaining the appropriate visa. The applicant must be a current INSAR Student member.

Mentor: The proposed mentor must be employed in a full-time faculty position at an academic or research institution where the research will be conducted. The mentor must also have documented cultural diversity and autism research experience (basic or applied) as evident by peer-reviewed publications and previous acquisition of funding to conduct autism research. The mentor must also be a current INSAR Full member and have previous experience mentoring graduate-level trainees/students.

Application Preparation

The applicant must identify his or her prospective mentor who meets the stated criteria and coordinate with the selected mentor accordingly to prepare the application. All documents should be submitted as a single PDF bundled together using the online submission form.  Any questions should be submitted to the

Applications are due by January 10, 2020 and will not be accepted after the due date.  Applications must include the following materials.

Applicant Materials:

  1. Cover Page (2 pages max): This should include the name, email address of the applicant, name and contact information for the proposed mentor, project title, a brief description of the proposed research project and timeline, including expected outcomes of the research project, and how participation in the program will enhance the mentee’s learning experience. Students from historically underrepresented backgrounds and/or LMIC should provide a short description of their background.

  2. Statement of Proposed Research (1500 words max, Times New Roman 12pt font, double-spaced): This should include:
    a. A description of the proposed research to be conducted during the funding period 
    b. A proposed research timeline
    c. Relevant background and research questions
    d. Research methods and specific tasks to be completed during the internship
    e. Potential impact the research will have on the autism community
    f. The applicant should also explain how they will extend their learning experience beyond the duration of the internship (e.g., presentations, publications, training others, etc.).

  3. Applicant’s Biosketch (in NIH format)

  4. Applicant’s graduate transcripts (Unofficial is acceptable)

  5. Letter of Recommendation from a previous advisor, mentor, instructor, or supervisor

Mentor Materials

  1. Mentor’s Biosketch (in NIH format)

  2. One representative manuscript showing the mentor’s previous autism research focusing on cultural diversity

  3. Letter of Support from the Selected Mentor: This letter should include information on the mentor’s autism research related to cultural diversity, previous experience mentoring graduate-level students, and a statement of the mentor’s commitment to provide research mentorship in the selected autism research area.

  4. Proposed Budget and Justification. The mentor should outline a proposed budget (up to $500) to support the intern’s proposed research project. The budget justification should outline how these funds will be used and how these expenses are unique to the intern’s research project.

Review Process and Evaluation Criteria
There will be an external review committee comprised of INSAR members who have research expertise in the field of cultural diversity. Final decisions will be made by the external review committee and the INSAR Cultural Diversity Committee leadership. Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Relevance of the proposed project to cultural diversity in autism research
  • The mentee’s proven interest in autism research and academic achievement
  • The mentor’s research qualifications and capacity to mentor
  • Potential for long-term impact of mentoring 

Internal review board (IRB) approval is not required to submit the application; however, where applicable, evidence of IRB approval must be provided prior to the start of the funding period.

Award notification will be made in February 2020 and must be used between May 2020 and August 2020. Finalization and preparation of results may be completed after the funding period at no cost to INSAR. Project results must be submitted for presentation at the INSAR Cultural Diversity Pre-Conference Workshop or INSAR 2021 regular session.
Award recipients will be required to submit a progress report during the summer internship and a final report upon completion of the study outlining the progress of the proposed research study. Award recipients are also required to participate in Cultural Diversity Committee activities at the INSAR Annual Meeting, including a group photo and social media promotion. Award recipients will be asked to share what they learned during their internship experience with the INSAR community and may include writing a blog post, writing up research for peer-reviewed publication, and sharing photos of the experience.

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