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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 began her career in autism research in 2005, undertaking an ESRC-funded MSc (2005-2006) and PhD (2006-2009) at Goldsmiths, University of London. Upon completing her postgraduate studies, Laura was appointed to a series of postdoctoral research and teaching positions at various London-based universities (including Goldsmiths, City and UCL). In 2017, Laura joined IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society, as an Associate Professor. Laura is based within the UCL Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE), where she currently holds the role of interim Director. 

Research Groups
Research Summary

Laura’s contributions to the field of autism research centre around conducting research that meets the highest standards of originality, rigour, and significance, while also making a genuine difference to the lives of autistic people and their allies (especially in the fields of education, healthcare, and criminal justice). Underpinning all of this work is Laura’s commitment to championing participatory approaches to autism research: ensuring that research is conducted with, as opposed to on, about, or for autistic people.


Laura has secured 22 research grants as principal or co-investigator, has published over 70 peer-reviewed papers, and has personally presented her work at over 70 conferences and events nationally and internationally. In recognition of Laura’s expertise in participatory autism research, she has won several prestigious awards, including the UK 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). 

Laura is committed to building capacity within the next generation of autism researchers and has a sustained track record of doctoral student completions. Laura has also been awarded Recognised Research Supervisor status from the UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE) as a marker of her high-quality supervisory practices. Please note that Laura is not accepting applications from prospective doctoral students at present. 

Teaching Summary

Laura’s most significant contribution to teaching at UCL has been in the development and subsequent leadership of UCL's first ever autism-specific course: the Special and Inclusive Education (Autism) MA. This course introduces students to the latest and most cutting-edge autism research, with an emphasis on bridging links to educational practice. Laura also developed, and is module leader for, all three specialist autism modules within this course. Laura also delivers guest lectures on autism for students on the PGCE Secondary programme and Professional Doctorate in Educational Psychology programme. In recognition of the quality of Laura’s teaching, she has received several nominations in the UCL Student Choice Awards, in the categories of Exceptional Feedback (2020), Outstanding Research Supervision (2020), Excellent Personal Tutoring (2021), and Inspirational Teaching Delivery (2022). 

Laura is also an experienced internal and external examiner.  Laura is currently external examiner for 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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