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Dr Laura Crane
Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE)
IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society
55-59 Gordon Square
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7331 5141
Dr Laura Crane profile picture
  • Asssociate Professor
  • IOE - Psychology & Human Development
  • UCL Institute of Education

Laura is an Associate Professor at IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society, where she is interim Director of the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE).  

Research Groups
Research Summary

Laura’s research focuses on understanding the educational experiences of autistic children and young people (in mainstream and special schools), and identifying evidence-based ways to support pupils, their parents and their educators. Laura is passionate about engaging education professionals in research - supporting them to identify priorities for research and co-designing research studies that positively impact on pupil outcomes and wellbeing. 

Laura also has expertise in the following areas: (1) examining the diagnostic and post-diagnostic experiences of autistic people, their families, and the professionals who work with them; and (2) promoting access to justice for witnesses on the autism spectrum (in both the criminal and family justice systems).  Laura’s early work centered on cognition and autism (with a particular focus on autobiographical memory). 

Central to all of Laura’s work is a commitment to the involvement of the autistic and broader autism communities in the research process; ensuring that research has a strong participatory ethos and is of direct and practical relevance to those it affects.  

Laura is also a strong advocate of public engagement and community outreach; ensuring that research is accessible to autistic people, their families, and the professionals who work with them. Laura has won several prizes for this work, including the charity Autistica’s Community Engagement Award (2018), a UCL Provost’s Prize for Public Engagement (2018), and a Rising Star Engagement Award from the British Academy (2017). 

Teaching Summary

At IOE, Laura is part of the MA in Special and Inclusive Education (MASIE) programme team. Laura is Chair of the MASIE Cluster Exam Board (2021-present); Laura designed and subsequently led the MASIE Autism programme (2021-present); and Laura is module leader for, and teaches on, three postgraduate modules: 'Autism: Research and Practice' (2014-present), 'Special Topics in Autism Research' (2021-present) and 'Autism Education in Practice' (2022-present). 

Outside of the MASIE programme, Laura delivers guest lectures on autism for students on the PGCE Secondary programme and Professional Doctorate in Educational Psychology programme.

Laura has received several nominations in the UCL Student Choice Awards for her teaching, including in the categories of Exceptional Feedback (2020), Outstanding Research Supervision (2020), Excellent Personal Tutoring (2021) and Inspiring Teaching Delivery (2022); and Laura is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (awarded in 2020).


Laura supervises several postgraduate taught and research students at UCL, all of whom conduct autism research. In 2021, Laura became a UKCGE Recognised Research Supervisor. Please note that Laura is not accepting applications from prospective doctoral students at present.  

Laura is also an experienced internal and external examiner.  Currently, Laura is external examiner for the MSc Child and Adolescent Psychology programme at the University of Greenwich (2018-present) and the Autism (Web, Children, Adults, Dubai) programmes at the University of Birmingham (2020-present).  Laura has also acted as internal/external examiner for research theses at several universities in the UK (Bangor, Bath, Bedfordshire, Birmingham, Cambridge, Exeter, Huddersfield, London Metropolitan, Sheffield, Strathclyde, UCL, York) and internationally (in Australia, Ireland and South Africa).  

NOV-2017 Associate Professor Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) UCL Institute of Education, United Kingdom
FEB-2017 – OCT-2017 Senior Teaching and Engagement Fellow (p/t) Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) UCL Institute of Education, United Kingdom
OCT-2015 – OCT-2017 Postdoctoral Research Associate (p/t) Department of Psychology Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom
JAN-2014 – JUL-2016 Research Fellow (p/t) Division of Language and Communication Science City, University of London, United Kingdom
APR-2011 – JAN-2014 Research Fellow (p/t) Department of Psychology London South Bank University, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2010   Doctor of Philosophy University of London
2006   Master of Science University of London
2005   Bachelor of Science University of London
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