New report on improving research across conditions

20 October 2021

Embracing Complexity in Research highlights the priorities, barriers and opportunities for research that considers multiple neurodevelopmental conditions.

Most people with neurodevelopmental conditions (NDCs) have more than one, but this group is often shut out of research.

Siloed working, mismatched priorities and lack of funding for studies across multiple conditions are just some of the barriers that can prevent people with NDCs from getting the full benefit from research.

Through the Emerging Minds Cross-Sector Placement scheme, researcher Suzi Sapiets spent six months working with Embracing Complexity, compiling priority-setting activities and interviewing leading academics across a range of NDC fields. This report outlines the findings from this project and the priorities, barriers and opportunities for research that crosses diagnostic boundaries.

The project found that:

  • Funding for neurodevelopmental research is poorly aligned with the research priorities of people with NDCs and their families.
  • The way funding streams are set up can encourage focus on a specific diagnosis, making it difficult to secure funding for wider neurodevelopmental studies.
  • Investing in research infrastructure, such as common outcome measures and ways to bring together researchers from different fields, could improve the quality of future neurodevelopmental research.

This project was carried out by Suzi Sapiets, PhD Researcher, Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and Research (CEDAR), University of Warwick, on a cross-sector placement funded by Emerging Minds.

Full report: Embracing Complexity in Research