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George Watts, PhD Student

George is a part-time PhD student, funded by the ESRC for the project “Understanding experiences of the autistic community for all autistic adults”. Her research aims to identify barriers and facilitators to the autistic community for autistic adults, including those with co-occurring learning disabilities. As an autistic self-advocate, researcher and mum to two autistic children, George is passionate about participatory research. She is supervised by Dr Eilidh Cage, Dr Catherine Crompton (Edinburgh) and Dr Joe Long (Scottish Autism)

Marisa McKinlay, PhD Student

Marisa is a part-time PhD student, looking at issues for autistic adolescents. As an experienced Speech and Language Therapist, she is passionate about supporting communication and how environments can be changed to allow increased social engagement. Her research aims to work with autistic young people and those around them, identifying enabling factors and barriers to participation in secondary school. She is supervised by Dr Eilidh Cage, Dr Catherine Grainger and Dr Mary Stewart (Heriot-Watt).

Dr Monique Botha, Research Fellow

Monique’s research focuses on the role of minority stress, stigma, and discrimination in the mental health outcomes of autistic people. As an autistic autism researcher, Monique is passionate about a socially just, ethical, and engaged form of science, which aims for emancipation and equality. Monique currently has a 3-year Leverhulme Fellowship where they will be examining dehumanisation and interpretation bias in autism researchers.

Find out more about Monique’s research here.

Dr Eilidh Cage, Lecturer in Psychology

Eilidh’s research looks broadly at the experiences of autistic adults and adolescents, and the challenges related to navigating a predominantly non-autistic world. She is particularly interested in autism acceptance (from both self and others), mental health and wellbeing, autistic identity and diagnosis, camouflaging (or masking) and supporting autistic students at university. She is also passionate about improving practices within autism research itself.

Read more about Eilidh’s research and publications here.

Dr Catherine Grainger, Lecturer in Psychology

About me:

I first studied psychology at Durham University, where I completed a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. Before starting my PhD, I worked as a research associate at Durham University, and then went on to complete a PhD in Psychology at the University of Kent. After working as a post-doctoral researcher, I joined Stirling in April 2016.   I am a non-autistic researcher, and am passionate about equality diversity and inclusion, in both research and teaching in Higher Education.

Research Interests:

My research mainly focusses on cognition in autistic and non-autistic adults. I am particularly interested in understanding how aspects of cognition (e.g., self-awareness) relate to mental health outcomes and quality of life in autism. I also research episodic memory, prospective memory, theory-of-mind, and alexithymia. I am always happy to talk about research ideas and to meet with potential students. Please feel free to email me or come by my office during my office hours. I also welcome students interested in applying for a PhD within an area of my research interests.


Principle Investigator:

£15,000 Carnegie Trust |2023-2024| University of Stirling

Research Incentive Grant: The Development and Validation of the Autistic Experiences of Microaggressions (AEMS) Scale.

£65,616 Royal Society of Edinburgh| 2021-2022| University of Stirling

Sabbatical Research Award. Project: Understanding anxiety in Autism: Is metacognition the missing link?

£109,677 Academy of Medical Sciences| 2019-2022| University of Stirling

Springboard Grant. Project: Remembering to remember: What techniques can be used to support prospective memory in autistic adults?

Read more about my research and find my publications here.