Professor Simon Baron-Cohen BY BRIAN HARRIS © 2008

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen

Simon Baron-Cohen is Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge and Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge. He is Director of the Autism Research Centre (ARC) in Cambridge.

He holds degrees in Human Sciences from New College, Oxford, a PhD in Psychology from UCL, and an M.Phil in Clinical Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry. He held lectureships in both of these departments in London before moving to Cambridge in 1994. He is also Director of CLASS (Cambridge Lifespan Asperger Syndrome Service), a clinic for adults with suspected AS. 

He has been awarded prizes from the American Psychological Association, the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BA), and the British Psychological Society (BPS) for his research into autism. He has been President of the Psychology Section of the BA, Vice President of the International Society for Autism Research, and the National Autistic Society, and received the 2006 Presidents’ Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge from the BPS.

  Robert Leeming

Robert Leeming (Chairman)

Robert is a Partner at Charterhouse Capital Partners, a Western European private equity firm currently investing a £4bn fund. He is on the Board of a number of portfolio companies and has been involved with a range of deals from environmental consulting to insurance. Robert previously graduated with distinction from an MBA at INSEAD.

Robert was an undergraduate at Cambridge University, where he studied Natural Science. He specialised in aspects of Psychology and his Director of Studies was Simon Baron Cohen. During that time, he specialised in development psychology which is where his understanding and interest in autism spectrum conditions was born. It was his ongoing relationship with Simon that lead to the creation of ART. 

Andrew Swann

Andrew Swann

After graduating from Cambridge with a degree in genetics, Andrew joined Baring Brothers merchant bank in 1974 and was appointed to the board in 1988.  In 1998 he joined Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank where he became the board member responsible for creating and running the Corporate Banking operation.

Andrew left banking in 2007 to concentrate on advisory work and on voluntary activities becoming Treasurer of his local church and continuing his long term interest in working with and for young people through the Scout Association and as a governor of a local school.

Andrew has a continuing involvement with autism through his son, now in in his late twenties, who after many very difficult years was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome in his early teens. The work of Simon Baron-Cohen and his team in both the understanding of the genetic background to Autistic Spectrum Disorders and in early screening to detect their presence are both of great interest to Andrew and his family.

Robert Verwaaijen

Robert Verwaaijen

Robert is a venture capitalist, investing capital in high-potential technology startup companies. He previously worked as at Prime Ventures and as a consultant for the Monitor Group, a management consultant firm specialized in strategy consultation. Robert worked in Monitor’s New York and London offices advising blue-chip corporates in a broad range of industries.  Robert started his career as an Analyst at PA Consulting Group in New York and holds a BS degree in Business Management from Babson College, MA, USA.

Robert has a personal interest in autism spectrum research as his young son Rover has been diagnosed with PDD-NOS. Robert and his wife have been working tirelessly with many specialists to get the most out of Rover’s development. In the process of learning more about his son’s condition, he has become aware of the disparity between the high prevalence of autism and the relatively low levels of private funding for research. Robert is strongly committed to help propel autism research and understanding to the next level and give it the public awareness and private funding it deserves.


VR Ferose

VR Ferose is Senior Vice President and Head of Globalization Service for SAP AG. Based in Bangalore, he is responsible for adoption of SAP products to locations
outside of Germany and US through functional and language localization, legal changes and maintenance, developing products for local markets. Before heading Globalization Services,
he was the Managing Director of SAP Labs India.

Ferose is a Director on the Board of Specialist People Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation with the goal to create one million jobs globally for people with autism and similar challenges. He is the founder of “India Inclusion Summit “, a first of its kind event aiming to bring the topic of inclusion at the forefront in India. He is in the panel of “The Vision Group on Information Technology”, Government of Karnataka. He co-founded, the Global Shapers, Karnataka chapter with a vision to create leadership amongst the youth Ferose was honored as a ‘Young Global Leader’ in March 2012 by the World Economic Forum. Ferose was selected one of the leaders in ‘Indian’s Top 40 under 40’ – 2014.


Lucy Hawking

Lucy Hawking is an author and the original creator of the George Greenby books, a series of adventure stories which aim to explain complex science to a young audience through dramatic storytelling. Lucy works with a range of distinguished scientists on the George Greenby series, including her very well-known father, Stephen Hawking.

Currently, the George Greenby series is in development with Canadian animation studio Nerd Corps Entertainment to become an animated television series. Lucy studied Modern Languages at Oxford before becoming a journalist. She wrote for newspapers and magazines and then moved into publishing with two comedy novels for adults. While working on the George series, Lucy spent a year as Distinguished Writer in residence at the Origins Project, ASU where she was also Visiting International Scholar at the Institute of Humanities Research. Recently, Lucy was made a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in recognition of the work she has done in explaining science to a young audience.


Andrew Buisson

Andrew is a partner in the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright LLP. Andrew trained with the firm and has been with them for 17 years, and specialises in major infrastructure projects, both in the UK and overseas. Andrew also holds a MSc in Construction Law and Arbitration from Kings College, London. Andrew is also Chair of the Family Matters Network at Norton Rose Fulbright, which provides learning opportunities to help working parents and carers with the personal challenges that they face, and brings them together to share knowledge and experiences.

Andrew and his wife Gillian have three boys, of whom the eldest has autism, and they have been following their own journey of discovery of this condition since his earliest years. Learning that your child has an autistic spectrum condition is a difficult period for parents which can leave them vulnerable to false hope, and it is difficult for many parents at such a time to navigate a path through the masses of conflicting (and often dubious) information available on the internet, which is why Andrew is passionate about the need for greater science funding in this area, to ensure that those dealing with this in the future have a clearer understanding as to their child’s condition and how best to support their development.

Jonathan Tobin

Jonathan Tobin

Jonathan is a venture capital investor specialising in the biotechnology sector, helping to form and fund start-up companies developing novel therapeutics. He has sat on the boards of several company developing innovative new medicines and diagnostics. He started his career in academic research, with a PhD in rare disease genetics from UCL, postdoctoral research at Cancer Research UK, and then moved into the biotech industry. Jonathan has a first class degree in Biology from Oxford and an MBA with distinction from Imperial.

He is passionate about the field of autism research, believing it is an underserved area that has huge potential to benefit the millions of people with autism and their families.


Lewis Owens

Lewis is Founder and Managing Director of EdmissionUK, a London-based consultancy advising students and families globally on UK Higher Education, Music and The Arts. He was awarded a PhD from Queens’ College, Cambridge, in 2000 for his work on Nikos Kazantzakis. From 2001-2003 he was Lecturer in Religion, Philosophy and The Arts at Canterbury Christ Church University. From 2004-2009, Lewis was President of the UK Shostakovich Society. He was also the writer and producer of the documentary The Unknown Shostakovich (Sky Arts).

Lewis is also a respected playwright: his debut play  was Like a Chemist from Canada and his next play And It Rained All Night is planned for 2018.  He is also Trustee of a newly-formed Theatre company and was an Executive Producer of the UK Premiere of Kazantzakis’ Comedy in 2014.

Lewis has a very personal interest in autism. He is the author of the Archie’s Way children’s ebooks, all proceeds of which go to autism charities, which have endorsed by leading Professors from Oxford, Cambridge and London, as well as high-profile public personalities.