The Autism Research Collaborative (ARC)


The Autism Research Collaborative (ARC) is Aotearoa New Zealand’s first autism research centre.

We work in partnership with the community to design and conduct research that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Autistic children and young people, their families and whānau.


Our Vision:

To enhance the wellbeing of Autistic children and young people in Aotearoa New Zealand through collaborative, community-engaged, world-leading research.



Our research is underpinned by a core set of values:

  • Community participation and inclusion
  • Alignment with the neurodiversity framework and understanding of autism
  • Respect for difference within and between communities
  • Reciprocity


Our Team:

The ARC is co-directed by University of Canterbury’s Professor Laurie McLay and Dr Lisa Marie Emerson, in partnership with the Autistic Partnership Aotearoa New Zealand and the Child Well-being Research Institute 

Professor Laurie McLay

Professor / Pouhere
On secondment
Rehua 319

Lisa Emerson

Senior Lecturer Above the Bar
Rehua 305
Internal Phone: 90175

Research Fellows