Irish-led €9m investment in assistive technologies for autism

15 May 2014

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science

An Irish-led €9m EU research programme aimed at creating assistive technologies for people with autism and intellectual disibilities has been launched in Dublin this morning.

The research is co-funded by the EU Marie Curie ASSISTID Cofund and the Irish charity RESPECT. This wide-ranging research project in this specific field is the first of its kind in Europe, the EU said.

The programme will promote research into the development and application of assistive technologies to enhance the quality of life of people with intellectual disabilities and autism, their carers and families.

ASSISTID is the first structured research programme of its kind in Europe and the most significant investment into assistive technologies research to date.

Social inclusion

“Autism and intellectual disability represent a heavy burden worldwide, affecting 3m people in Europe,” said Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science.

“For those affected and their families, this can often mean severely reduced quality of life.

“The challenges posed by autism and intellectual disability are multifaceted, encompassing several sectors, such as care, education, employment and social inclusion.

“So this means that the solutions should be multidisciplinary, spanning the whole range of action from basic research to improve our knowledge to translating that knowledge into better care and social inclusion of people with autism and intellectual disability,” Geoghegan-Quinn said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years