The American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation (ASHFoundation) invites investigators to submit proposals in competition for up to four research grants of $35,000 each. The Researcher-Practitioner Collaboration Grant supports partnerships between academic or organizational researchers and clinical practitioners to conduct collaborative studies designed to enhance evidence for improving communication sciences and disorders (CSD) services. The funding can be applied to one- or two-year studies.
Applying evidence to enhance assessment and treatment practices for addressing the needs of individuals with communication disorders is critical in health care and educational settings. The ASHFoundation recognizes the value of strong collaborations between academic or organizational researchers and clinical practitioners as a way to accelerate evidence-based practices. The goal of this grant is to encourage collaborative research that will be conducted in practice settings with the explicit aim of increasing knowledge that will improve services to individuals with communication disorders.
Proposed studies must address a clinical problem/question that has direct application and is compatible to practice. This grant is designed to support preliminary research that will lead to a larger-scale study. The research question may originate with the researcher or the practitioner, but be of substantial interest to both in their mutual areas of expertise. The collaborative effort is central to this unique funding opportunity.
The ASHFoundation presented an introductory webinar for potential investigators to learn more about the specific requirements and application process for this new research grant. View the webinar recording, presentation slides [PDF], and frequently asked questions [PDF].
Who Should Apply
Investigators/collaborators include the following:
- Academic or organizational researchers who can demonstrate how the proposed research contributes to their program of research, both in content and future funding possibilities.
- Clinical practitioners who can demonstrate experience with and access to the clinical population and the proposed research. Practitioners must demonstrate organizational support and appropriate leadership roles to allow for participation in the research.
Both the researcher and practitioner must be able to articulate their commitment to the research topic, describe their role in the collaboration process, and demonstrate that they have adequate time for participation.
Studies should have significant importance for clinical practice, as well as the discipline, and be aimed toward improving services to children and adults with communication disorders. For all studies, the research focus must be of significance to both the researcher and practitioner, and reflect their mutual areas of expertise. Research questions may originate in the following ways:
- Researcher-driven research: This type of research will be an extension of efficacy findings that are being translated into practice. The collaboration will be to investigate the process of implementing a proven protocol into practice. The research question and methodology will typically explore identification and resolution of challenges to implementing and sustaining an evidence-based protocol into practice.
- Practitioner-driven research (practice-based research): This type of research will answer questions of significance to practice, including studies about practice needs, practice conventions (predispositions), or practice outcomes. Studies can be retrospective (examining existing practice-based data) or prospective (collecting new practice-based data). These research questions will typically address practice needs, monitor service delivery trends, or document outcomes.
Investigators must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the Researcher-Practitioner Collaboration Grant.
- The researcher must have received a PhD or equivalent research doctorate in communication sciences and disorders or a related discipline. The researcher should have demonstrated expertise in research design and execution, along with interest in the proposed research topic.
- The practitioner must have received a degree in audiology, speech-language pathology or a related field, and be in an environment that encourages and supports research. The practitioner should have demonstrated practical experience with the target population and the proposed research topic.
- The researcher and practitioner must demonstrate their experience of working together and their mutual interest around the proposed research topic. They must establish the viability of their professional relationship in the context of their common interest in the research question and the potential for success in their collaboration.
- Either the researcher or practitioner must be designated as the principal investigator, but the principal investigator must demonstrate the ability, time and institutional support necessary to successfully conduct the research. The principal investigator will manage the design and implementation of the study, including human subject considerations, budget responsibilities, and personnel supervision.
- The proposal submitted to the 2018 Researcher-Practitioner Collaboration Grant competition cannot be submitted to other 2018 ASHFoundation grant competitions. However, the investigators remain eligible to submit to other ASHFoundation grant competitions in the same year, if proposing to investigate a different topic.
A review panel will evaluate the proposals based on the following five criteria:
- Significance: The potential for the study to improve practice, contribute to the knowledge base of the discipline, and enhance the science of increasing evidence in practice.
- 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 participant inclusionary/exclusionary criteria, data collection procedures, measurement and data analysis plans, will be considered.
- Investigator: The perceived ability of the Investigators to carry out the study in the specified time period, reflected by appropriate training, experience, and past collaborative accomplishments. The investigators’ description of clear and detailed management, budget, and collaboration plans.
- Environment: The extent to which the investigators have access to the needed facilities, resources, personnel, participants and institutional support.
- Innovation: The uniqueness of the question, the proposed researcher-practitioner collaboration, refinement or enhancement of clinical protocol for implementation into practice, or new application of theoretical concepts in practice, or research methods.
Reviewers will 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, will improve clinical practice, and will move the discipline forward.
The five criteria contribute to the Overall Impact score to correspond to the goals and funding levels of the grant competition. Researcher-Practitioner Collaboration Grant funds are expected to support the collection of preliminary data that are likely to provide the basis for future research. Of particular importance to this mechanism will be the nature of the collaboration (i.e., Investigators and Environment) and the scientific rigor of the Approach.
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 least 1 inch.
- Investigators Letter (limit 2 pages)
Provide a letter of application addressed to the “Grant Review Committee.” Explain briefly why the investigators are pursuing the proposed study, the specific aims of the proposed research, why the study is of clinical importance, why the researcher-practitioner collaboration is valuable to achieve the research aims, and how the research will contribute to the discipline and the science of increasing evidence in practice. Briefly highlight the investigators’ previous collaborative efforts, particularly those resulting in co-authored presentations or publications. Validate that investigators have dedicated research time and commitment from institutions involved to support the study. (Please note that this letter is not intended to be a replication of the detailed investigator biographical sketches.)
- Abstract (limit 1 page)
Concisely describe the study's focus, specific aims, important aspects of the research approach, and potential contributions to clinical practice and the discipline.
- Research Plan (limit 12 pages)
Specific Aims and Significance: Present the problem or issue to be addressed and the specific objectives of the proposed research. Include research questions and/or hypotheses. Provide the rationale for a pilot study in the context of the overall research program. Address the potential impact of the study’s activities on the discipline of communication sciences and disorders and the science of increasing evidence in practice. This section should outline the significance of the clinical need and research gap that exists and the importance of the proposed study in addressing the problem.
Design and Methodology: Provide a description and justification for the study design. Include justifications for participants, data collection procedures, measurement techniques (including as appropriate reliability/credibility and control measures), data reduction and analysis, and evaluation procedures. Address potential challenges that could affect completion of the study. This section should provide enough detail for reviewers to make informed judgments about the soundness of the proposed research procedures.
Facilities and Resources: Describe the facilities, resources, and participants available to the investigators for carrying out the proposed study. Note evidence of past collaborations that support the origin of the proposal, and that will promote the completion of the research study.
- References and/or Appendices, as appropriate (limit 6 pages)
- Collaboration Plan (limit 2 pages)
Define the collaborative team and explain its value in addressing the research topic. Describe the rationale for selecting the principal investigator, and the respective roles for the researcher and practitioner. Specify the collaborative effort, including a description of each investigator’s responsibilities and activities related to the research study and their time allotment for research among other assigned duties.
- Management Plan (limit 2 pages)
Describe study activities, timelines, and dissemination plans for research results. If applicable, include information about travel required for direct research activity and indicate why it is essential to the investigation. Include a plan for submitting follow-up grant proposals with details about the potential funding agencies, grant mechanisms, and anticipated deadlines. Incorporate ASHFoundation report deadlines into the management timeline.
- Budget (limit 2 pages)
The total budget is $35,000. State the importance of the requested funds to the study’s objectives and indicate how funds will be allocated to specific expense items. Funds will be disbursed to the designated principal investigator.
Funding will not cover institutional overhead, indirect costs, or travel costs for conventions or meetings. Funding will be disbursed in U.S. currency to investigators in the United States or Canada. 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 the investigators.
For specific budget-related questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Investigators Biographical Sketches (limit 5 pages each)
The researcher, practitioner, and any participating key personnel must provide NIH-style Biographical Sketches. 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. Researchers should adapt the form to include accomplishments related to the current research topic and how the outcomes of the proposed research will impact the discipline’s knowledge base. Practitioners should adapt the form to describe experience related to the research topic and explain why the research outcomes will be relevant for practice.
- Human Subjects
If the study will use human participants, include the consent form(s) and a copy of the Institutional Review Board’s (IRB) approval.
If the IRB approval is not available at time of submission, investigators should clearly explain the status of the IRB approval process and send the approval documents to the ASHFoundation as soon as IRB approval is granted, but no later than August 31, 2018.
If the IRB approval will not be available until the deadline of August 31, 2018, investigators should provide the following information (limit 3 pages):
- Describe the characteristics of the participant population, including the anticipated number, age range, gender, ethnic background, and health status.
- Identify sources of research materials in the form of specimens, records, and/or data.
- Describe plans for the recruitment of participants and the consent procedures to be followed (include a copy of consent form to be used).
- Describe the potential risks to participants (e.g., physical, psychological, social, legal, or other).
- Describe the procedures for protecting against or minimizing potential risks to participants, including risks to confidentiality.
- Discuss why risks to participants are reasonable in relation to the anticipated benefits and to the importance of possible resulting knowledge.
- Letters of Institutional Commitment
Submit letters addressed to the “Grant Review Committee” from the administrators of each investigators’ current employment settings indicating that the proposed study is endorsed and will not present a conflict of interest with their current responsibilities and commitments. If more than one practice setting is involved, letters should be obtained for all sites.
- Letters of Support (optional)
If applicable, provide letters of support from cooperating agencies and key personnel (i.e., other collaborators and consultants) involved in the research study.