Overview of the ICR Committee

Jeff Anderson, Jeff Roth, & Dr. Julian Martinez-Agosto

The Infrastructure for Collaborative Research (ICR) is a comprehensive platform designed to streamline and enhance research processes by fostering a collaborative environment for researchers, participants, and interested parties. The ICR hosts study data relevant to the physical health and wellbeing of Autistic individuals, maintains a participant database, facilitates data collection, and allows researchers to share projects and find collaborators at other sites who can contribute to collecting data and furthering these projects. A key intention of the ICR is to reduce the time and resources that any individual researcher would need to devote to turning a project idea into reality.

Here's an overview of what ICR offers:

  • Inclusive Proposal Review Process: ICR prides itself on its inclusive review process. Researchers can submit their study proposals through the ICR's dedicated Request for Proposals (RFP) website. Proposals are meticulously reviewed, ensuring a wide range of perspectives and insights are considered. This process is not only thorough but also encourages community involvement, allowing researchers to receive direct feedback from the communities they aim to study.
  • Collaborative Workspaces: Upon approval, researchers gain access to private workspaces and forums specifically tailored for their projects. These digital spaces serve as hubs for all study materials and discussions, facilitating seamless interaction between collaborators. The ICR forum is an invaluable resource for researchers to engage with each other and the ICR team, promoting an exchange of ideas and best practices.
  • Participant Database: ICR maintains a robust participant database to assist in study recruitment. Researchers can provide inclusion and exclusion criteria, enabling the ICR team to effectively search and match potential participants already familiar with the research process. This tailored recruitment strategy enhances the efficiency of the study setup and ensures a fit between participant profiles and study requirements.
  • REDCap Tools and Surveys: Recognizing the importance of data collection, ICR assists researchers in creating REDCap tools and surveys. By providing project requirements and study protocols, researchers can count on the ICR to support the development and deployment of these tools, ensuring that the study is primed for robust data collection.
  • Interactive Results Dashboard: The fruits of research efforts are showcased on an interactive dashboard. Researchers and interested parties can view and interact with this dashboard, which summarizes de-identified data from various studies. The data dictionary is also accessible, offering detailed information on the data collected.
  • Data for Secondary Analysis: Following a specified moratorium on data sharing to preserve the integrity and exclusivity of the primary research, ICR provides datasets for secondary analysis. This enables other researchers to delve deeper into the findings, potentially uncovering new insights. The data dictionary serves as a guide for researchers to understand the available variables and to formulate requests for specific data sets.

In essence, the ICR is more than a platform; it is an ecosystem designed to support and empower researchers at every stage of their projects—from proposal submission to data collection and beyond. It encapsulates a vision for a more collaborative, efficient, and transparent research process.

Responsibilities of ICR ANSWER Reps

ICR ANSWER Reps play a vital role in the proposal review process by providing an assessment from a neuro-affirming / neuro-informed perspective. They evaluate submissions based on the suitability, ethics, and feasibility of the research projects. They help to determine whether projects meet the established standards for inclusion within the ICR and offer feedback. This
includes constructive commentary on proposals that meet baseline criteria but could benefit from improvements.

  • One of the critical duties is to ensure that each proposal is reviewed by at least one Autistic reviewer from the Network, reflecting the ICR’s commitment to participatory approaches.
  • Each ANSWER Rep is expected to conduct 2-3 reviews per cycle, which may vary based on the number of applications received. They are responsible for the timely completion of reviews to keep the proposal process moving efficiently. The estimated time commitment for each review is around 2 hours.
  • Attend the quarterly Database Committee Meetings, which are held according to the schedule found on the webpage linked below: https://airpnetwork.ucla.edu/infrastructure-for-collaborative-research
  • Attend internal ICR team meetings on at least a quarterly basis. For an invitation to that meeting, please email ICR@mednet.ucla.edu.
  • Beyond ICR Proposals: They are also tasked with completing 1-2 reviews per year for other related programs, such as the AIR-P Cureus Channel and/or Scholar’s program, contributing to the broader research community within the ICR

We are looking for individuals with the following experience:

  • Autistic/Neurodivergent lived experience AND prior graduate-level training

Preferred Qualifications for ICR ANSWER Reps

  • Applicants must have at least two years of graduate school experience and be currently enrolled in a research-based doctoral program OR have completed their doctoral degree. Postdocs and early career researchers are particularly encouraged to apply.

  • Prior experience/knowledge of academic proposal review processes

  • Active CITI training or other research ethics training (e.g., TCPS 2: CORE-2022) and review of introductory materials

  • Background in autism and neurodevelopmental research

  • Willingness to provide constructive feedback

  • Ability to work effectively in a team of researchers with a diversity of opinions

  • Willingness to identify and remove oneself from potential conflicts of interest (in proposal review)