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Monthly Archives: May 2021

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship awarded to Dr Monique Botha

We are delighted to announce that Dr Monique Botha has been awarded an Early Career Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust. The Fellowship will enable Monique to work on a significant piece of work for three years (starting later this year) at Stirling. The research project is called “Fragile Knowledge: Dehumanisation & Interpretation Bias in Autism Research”. Monique plans to investigate the role autism researchers play in the construction of autism knowledge. The project will use both textual analysis of existing literature, and experiments with autism researchers. Currently, there are many issues in autism research, such as the dehumanisation of autistic people, and Monique’s project will be one of the first to systematically examine these issues. The Fellowship will also give Monique the opportunity to foster collaborations and visit other researchers around the world (hopefully!). The project will have wide-reaching implications for ethical practices in autism research, and psychology as a discipline more broadly. Congratulations, Monique!

2022 STAR Placements and Research Assistants

We are extremely grateful for the support provided to the STAR team by placement students or voluntary research assistants! This year we are supported by:

Emily Greenan
Jen Dow
Lynsey McDevitt
Sanna Rehman
Sarah Dantas


Khiah Strachan, Network Administrator (STARTS)

Khiah is a former Stirling student that completed her MSc in Autism Research in 2021. Currently, Khiah is the administrator on the Striving to Transform Autism Research Together Scotland (STARTS) network, supporting Dr Eilidh Cage, Dr Monique Botha and Dr Catherine Crompton (University of Edinburgh).

Rhys Swainston, Research Associate

Rhys is a MSc postgraduate working as a Research Assistant alongside Dr Catherine Grainger. He has run two autism-related project looking at the support systems that were available to autistic adults as children and their employability as adults. He is currently assisting on a project that focuses on autism and prospective memory.

Andrew Currie, PhD Student

Andrew is a PhD student at the University of Strathclyde, where he completed his MRes in English studies in 2021. His research focuses on literary narrative processing in autistic adult readers and explores their engagement with literary fiction. He is particularly interested in whether the cognitive traits associated with autism create a unique reading experience for such readers. Andrew is also passionate autism inclusion, advocacy and community participation. He is currently supervised by Dr. Elspeth Jajdelska (Strathclyde), Prof. Nigel Fabb (Strathclyde) and Dr. Catherine Grainger.  

Sarah Dantes, PhD Student


Sarah completed her masters in Autism Research at the University of Stirling in 2022 and is now a full-time PhD student within STAR. Sarah is also involved in the STARTS network, where she completed a placement as part of her masters and continues to work voluntarily assisting with different aspects of STARTS’ research.

Research Interests: 

Sarah’s PhD focuses on the impact of stigma – especially internalized stigma – on autistic adults’ mental health and identity. Sarah is passionate about community-based participatory research and is being supervised by Dr. Cath Grainger and Dr. Carol Jasper.