Autism Research Innovation Centre

Enriching Lives

The Autism Research Innovation Centre (ARIC) is focused on strengthening the wider autism community through participatory action research. The group's mission is to create a diverse and inclusive environment where community knowledge and academic expertise merge to produce evidence-based innovative professional approaches and services for enriching the lives of autistic people and those who support them throughout their lifespan.

About the Autism Research Innovation Centre

We are combining the diverse expertise of academic professionals in the fields of autism research, business, computer science, dog and animal-assisted interventions, education, health, human resource management, medical statistics, and psychology with the in-depth, first-hand experience of community leaders, community partners, and policy-makers, including governmental organisations, local government and public authorities, charities, and engagement groups.

Why Our Research Is Important

Our objective is to empower autistic communities by developing, evaluating, and cultivating modern, efficient, evidence-based initiatives and protocols to strengthen the connection between autistic people and those supporting them – from early childhood to late adulthood – and to enhance and maximise the rewards of their collaboration. 

Ultimately, we envisage and realise practices, techniques, and technologies, which inherently enable and actively promote the organic creation of a society that cherishes and thrives on its diversity and inclusivity.

Our Research Is Different

Our work is grounded in the innovative principles of participatory action research and community-based participatory research, where we strategically involve all stakeholders to co-develop the stages of project design, data collection and dissemination, in order to break through the current boundaries of scientific- and public understanding of autism and of autistic individuals. 

Using this framework, the multiple perspectives we adopt and combine, shed light onto various unique life experiences shared by autistic people from accessing additional support in education, through gaining novel opportunities by making the most of skill development programs and service provisions, to improving overall quality of life by finding and retaining employment. We draw on these experiences and research outcomes to inform policy development and re-assess current professional practices in the UK.


ARIC’s Organisational Structure

ARIC’s Board: Responsible for facilitating development, sharing information, monitoring and recording actions and progress in a strategic, complementary, robust, secure and consistent way.

Research Programme Leads (RPL): Responsible for developing and coordinating research projects.

Director: Responsible for the overall management and strategic development of the centre.


Name Position

Dr Lesley Allinson

RPL, School of Psychology

Dr Paul Baxter

RPL, School of Computer Science

Dr Jenna Brough

Lead in Clinical Services, Psychology

Dr Niko Kargas

Director, RPL, School of Psychology

Prof Graham Law

RPL, School of Health & Social Care

Prof Kerstin Meints

RPL, School of Psychology

Dr John Mendy

RPL, Lincoln International Business School

Prof Daniel Mills

RPL, School of Life Sciences

Dr Michael Rasell

Lead in International Research Partnerships, School of Health & Social Care

Dr Matina Tsiora

Community Engagement Research Coordinator, School of Psychology


Academic Staff

Name School

Academic Staff


Dr Simon Durrant

School of Psychology

Dr Julia Foecker

School of Psychology

Miss Rebecca Hawkins

School of Sport and Exercise Science

Dr Aidan Hart

School of Psychology

Dr Leslie Hicks

School of Health & Social Care

Dr Kirsten McKenzie

School of Psychology

Dr Amanda Roberts

School of Psychology

Dr Lauren Smith

School of Psychology

Dr Emile van der Zee

School of Psychology

Dr Fenja Ziegler

School of Psychology


PhD Research Students

Name School

Miss Ana Maria Barcelos Guerra Pinto

School of Life Sciences

Miss Charlotte Cartledge

School of Psychology

Miss Greta Kerulo

School of Psychology

Mrs Shona Murphy

School of Health & Social Care

Miss Renad Yassin

School of Psychology