In the largest allotment of its kind, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is accepting applications for $60 million in research funds to study autism.

The money comes from the federal economic stimulus package passed in February.

Research will focus on identifying causes and treatments for autism. Grants will be allotted to projects that meet the goals set forth in the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee’s (IACC) Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorder Research released earlier this year.

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“We have a growing sense of urgency to help the increasing number of children being diagnosed with ASD,” said Thomas R. Insel, chair of the IACC. “With the arrival of new funds, we can immediately start on many of the short-term objectives in the plan and use Recovery Act (stimulus) funds to support science that will facilitate the best possible outcomes for people with ASD and their families.”

As part of the stimulus package, all of the funds must be used within two years.