National University of Ireland, Galway

NUI Galway ranks among the top 20% of Universities in the world. Its prestigious history spans almost two centuries. Its spectacular location boasts the unique landscape and culture of the west of Ireland. Their global network connects to partners around the world. Their researchers are shaping hte future.

The Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) is an interdisciplinary research centre that is dedicated, through rigorous scientific research, to the advancement of knowledge of Autism Spectrum Disorder and its implications for individuals, families and society. ICAN’s principle investigators are academics from the Schools of Psychology, Medicine, Psychiatry and the Institute of Regenerative Medicine (REMEDI).

ICAN at NUIG launched the MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis in 2006. This programme provides high-level professional training to autism and intellectual disability practitioners. To date, 90 students have graduated and are employed in a variety of settings, including: behaviour specialists within the Health Service Executive; family support workers for children with behavioural disorders and consultants to early intervention programmes. Dr. Geraldine Leader established a PhD programme in Applied Behaviour Analysis in 2008. Graduates from the PhD programme are qualified to work across the full spectrum of applied settings (educational, clinical and academic) as certified practitioners, researchers, and educators. There are currently 12 students registered on this programme.

ICAN is located within the shared environment of the new Lifecourse Institute with the Child and Family Research Centre, the Centre for Disability Law and Policy and the Centre for Social Gerontology.

  • Key Contacts

    Dr. Geraldine Leader ( is the Director of the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research.  Geraldine joined the School of Psychology as a lecturer in 2002.  She established the MSc in ABA in 2006.  This programme was established to meet the growing need for practitioners to be skilled in the principles and applications of ABA in Ireland.  Geraldine established the Structured PhD programme in ABA in 2008. This was the first programme of its kind outside North America.  Geraldine is the founding chair of the Division of Behaviour Analysis in the Psychological Society of Ireland (DBA) and is also a member of the International Association for Behaviour Analysis and the European Association for Behaviour Analysis.  Her research interests lie in areas of stimulus overselectivity and the development of classroom remediation strategies, biobehavioural analysis of stress in caregivers of children with ASD and early screening.