About

The ASHFoundation’s Clinical Research Grants are intended to encourage research that will impact the delivery of services to people with communication disorders, who are striving to communicate and connect. Research should directly advance our knowledge of treatment efficacy and assessment practices in audiology and speech-language pathology, or investigate the implementation of evidence into practice.

For Clinical Research Grants, priority is given to proposals that:

  • Investigate bold, forward-thinking solutions that could improve the everyday functioning of people with, or at risk for, communication and related impairments.
  • Likely would progress to future large-scale studies with the potential to compete for additional external funding.

The grants are not intended to provide the investigator with additional or extended support for an existing study already supported through extramural funds. However, proposals will be considered if an early-career or mid-career investigator is proposing to join an established research team to develop a treatment-efficacy, implementation, or service-delivery study that holds promise for subsequent funding of the investigator.

Collaborative Research Studies: Details

  • Clinical Research Grants for collaborative research studies support a planning and preparation study for a potential large-scale collaboration study. Mid-career investigators, who may have an extensive research history, are good candidates for this grant mechanism. The investigator may need to work with another funded researcher to learn or hone an experimental protocol that holds promise for a collaborative research study proposal.
  • Proposals must include a description of a pilot research study that can be completed in one year. The proposed research would be expected to provide preliminary data to demonstrate the feasibility and promise of a large-scale study.
  • Interdisciplinary collaborations are encouraged. In addition to the quality of the proposed research study, the quality and record of the collaborator(s) will be evaluated.
  • The maximum budget for collaborative research studies is $50,000.

Eligibility

Investigators must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the Clinical Research Grant.

  1. The investigator must have received a PhD or equivalent research doctorate within the discipline of communication sciences and disorders or a related field.

  2. The investigator must demonstrate the potential for, and commitment to, conducting independent research with a clear plan for applying for extramural research support.

  3. The research must have significance and direct application to the development and evaluation of audiology or speech-language pathology intervention or assessment practices.

  4. Experienced investigators should explain why the proposed work represents a new effort that is not fundable from existing research support or an extension of funding that is currently supporting or has supported related work.

  5. Proposals submitted to the 2017 Clinical Research Grant competition cannot be submitted to other 2017 ASHFoundation grant competitions. However, the investigator remains eligible to submit to other ASHFoundation grant competitions in the same year, if proposing to investigate a different topic.

Evaluation Criteria

A review panel will evaluate all Clinical Research Grant mechanism proposals on the following five criteria.

  • Significance: The potential for the study to advance the discipline of communication sciences and disorders and to impact clinical needs relevant to audiology or speech-language pathology.
  • Approach: The merits of the design for accomplishing the specific aims of the study and, if applicable, the potential challenges of moving the study toward completion. The appropriateness and feasibility of a detailed account of the method, including measurement and data-analysis plans, will be considered.
  • Investigator: The perceived ability to carry out the study in the specified time period, reflected by appropriate training, experience, and past accomplishments. The investigator outlines clear and detailed management and budget plans.
  • Environment: The extent to which the investigator has access to needed scientific facilities, resources, personnel, and subjects.
  • Innovation: The refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, methods, or interventions. The investigator explains how the research is groundbreaking and has potential to impact the discipline.

Reviewers assign scores on a 1–9 scale for each criterion, as well as an Overall Impact score based on all five criteria. The Overall Impact score tends to reflect reviewers' assessment of whether a significant study will be completed competently, be disseminated widely, will move the discipline forward, and will yield a substantial research program.

The five criteria contribute differentially to the Overall Impact score to correspond to the goals and funding levels of the grant competition. To ensure competitiveness at the next level of external funding, the Significance of the study is most heavily weighted. The description of the Approach is expected to frame the proposed research within the larger program of research that will require subsequent funding. The Investigator and Environment also should have sufficient strength to compete successfully at the next level of funding.

Additional Criteria for the Collaborative Research Studies

Collaborators and Collaboration Plan: The contributions of the collaborators to the proposed research considers:

  • Collaborators' research interests, experience, and productivity, including funding history.
  • Collaboration description.

Proposal Guidelines

Proposal text should be single-spaced and placed in ONE PDF document containing all required sections in the order indicated. Additional attachments will not be accepted. Please use stated titles (below) as section headers. Selected font should be 12 point and noncondensed, and margins should be at least 1 inch.

  1. Investigator Letter (limit 2 pages)
    Provide a letter of application addressed to the "Grant Review Committee." Indicate the chosen support mechanism (collaborative), requested funding amount, and the study's beginning and ending date. Explain briefly why you are pursuing the proposed study, the specific aims of the proposed research, and how the study fits into your career stage and future plans. If you are in an academic setting, describe your time allotment among teaching, research, service, and other assigned duties. If you are not in an academic setting, describe the amount of your work time that is devoted to research. (Please note that this letter is not intended to be a replication of the detailed investigator biographical sketch.)

    Resubmission
    If this proposal is a revision of a prior submission to the ASHFoundation, the Investigator Letter must address how the proposal is revised to respond to the prior set of reviews.

  2. Abstract (limit 1 page)
    Concisely describe the study's focus, specific aims, important aspects of the work plan, and potential contributions to the discipline. Address the clinical applications of the study's outcome.

  3. Research Plan (limit 12 pages)

    1. Specific Aims and Significance: Present the problem or issue to be addressed and the specific objectives of the proposed study. This section should outline the significance of the clinical need that exists and the importance of the proposed study in understanding, diagnosing, remediating or compensating for the problem. Address the potential impact of the study's activities on the discipline of communication sciences and disorders. Include research questions and/or hypotheses proposed.

    2. Design and Methodology: Provide a description and justification for the study design. Include justifications for participants, measurement techniques (including, as appropriate, reliability and control measures), instrumentation, data analysis, and evaluation procedures. This section should provide enough detail for reviewers to make informed judgments about the soundness of the proposed research procedures.

    3. Facilities and Resources: Describe the facilities, resources, and participants available to you for carrying out the proposed study. Note collaborative relationships, as appropriate, that will promote the completion of the research study.

  4. Collaboration Plan (limit 2 pages)
    Describe the level of involvement of collaborator(s) with specific information about the contributions of the collaborator(s) to the research plan. Include details about the background of conducting treatment efficacy research and funding history for each participating collaborator.

  5. References and/or Appendices (as appropriate, limit 6 pages)

  6. Management Plan (limit 2 pages)
    Describe study activities, timelines, and dissemination plans for research results. Include a plan for submitting follow-up grant proposals including potential funding agencies, grant mechanisms, and anticipated deadlines. Please be specific about travel required for direct research activity and indicate why it is essential to the study. Incorporate ASHFoundation report deadlines into the management timeline.

  7. Budget (limit 2 pages)
    State the importance of the requested funds to the study's objectives and indicate how funds will be allocated to specific expense items. (Funding will not cover institutional overhead and indirect costs. In addition, funding may not be directed to travel costs for conventions or meetings. There are no other restrictions, but the case must be clear on how the funds are essential to conduct the research in light of other resources or support available to you.)

  8. Investigator Biographical Sketch (limit 5 pages)
    Complete an NIH-style biographical sketch. A form and sample are available on the NIH website [DOC]. Adapt the form as appropriate for the investigator profile; however, at minimum, section headers must include Education/Training, Positions and Honors, Contribution to Science, and Research Support.

  9. Human Subjects
    If the study will use human participants, include the consent form and a copy of the Institutional Review Board’s (IRB) approval.

    If the IRB approval is not available at time of submission, you should clearly explain the status of the IRB approval process and ensure that approval documents are sent to the ASHFoundation as soon as IRB approval is granted, but not later than September 1, 2017.

    It is essential to start the IRB approval process early. A lack of IRB determination by September 1, 2017, will automatically disqualify the proposal from funding consideration. The investigator assumes full responsibility for meeting these requirements.

    If the IRB approval will not be available until the deadline of September 1, 2017, you should provide the following information (limit 3 pages):

    1. Describe the characteristics of the participant population, including the anticipated number, age range, gender, ethnic background, and health status.

    2. Identify sources of research materials in the form of specimens, records, and/or data.

    3. Describe plans for the recruitment of participants and the consent procedures to be followed (include a copy of the consent form to be used).

    4. Describe the potential risks to participants (e.g., physical, psychological, social, legal, or other).

    5. Describe the procedures for protecting against or minimizing potential risks to participants, including risks to confidentiality.

    6. Discuss why risks to participants are reasonable in relation to the anticipated benefits and to the importance of possible resulting knowledge.

  10. Collaborator Biographical Sketch(es) (limit 5 pages for each individual)
    Submit an NIH-style biographical sketch for each participating individual.

  11. Letter of Institutional Commitment
    Submit a letter addressed to the "Grant Review Committee" from the administrator of your current employment setting indicating that the proposed study is endorsed and will not present a conflict of interest with your current responsibilities and commitments.

  12. Letters of Support (optional)
    If appropriate, provide letters of support from cooperating agencies, collaborators, or consultants directly involved in the research study.