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 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.
- Promote new directions for the discipline and 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.
Note for 2021: In preparation for the grant submission and review processes, the ASHFoundation requests that potential investigators complete an Intent to Submit Form by March 1 to provide information regarding their proposed studies. When investigators log in to the online submission system, they will be prompted to complete the Intent to Submit Form. This step must be completed before proceeding to the proposal submission process.
Independent Research Studies (one- or two-year studies)
- Clinical Research Grants for independent research studies are similar to the NIH R21 award; investigators early in their careers who are developing an independent research record are good candidates for this grant mechanism. (Having developed an innovative treatment approach, an experimental study, or a quasi-experimental study may be required to demonstrate the feasibility for a larger grant proposal.)
- Proposals must include a description of a research study that can be completed within two years. Because this grant mechanism is meant to fund research that will serve as preliminary data to support a proposal for a larger-scale, externally funded research study, the investigator will be expected to identify potential funding agencies, funding mechanisms, and timelines for submitting future grant proposals.
- While there is no requirement for a mentored experience, collaboration or consultation with a seasoned, funded investigator is encouraged.
- The maximum budget for independent research studies is $50,000 for one year or $75,000 disbursed equally over two years, contingent on satisfactory progress shown through a report.
Investigators must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the Clinical Research Grant.
The investigator must have received a PhD or equivalent research doctorate within the discipline of communication sciences and disorders or a related field.
The investigator must demonstrate the potential for, and commitment to, conducting independent research with a clear plan for applying for extramural research support.
The research must have significance and direct application to the development and evaluation of audiology or speech-language pathology intervention or assessment practices.
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.
Proposals submitted to the 2021 Clinical Research Grant competition cannot be submitted to other 2021 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.
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.
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.
Investigator Letter (limit 2 pages)
Provide a letter of application addressed to the "Grant Review Committee." Indicate the chosen support mechanism (independent) and the requested funding amount. 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.)
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.
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.
Research Plan (limit 12 pages)
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.
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.
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.
- References and/or Appendices (as appropriate, limit 6 pages)
- Management Plan (limit 2 pages)
Describe study activities, timelines, and dissemination plans for research results. The study start date will be December 1, 2021. 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 (see above Required Reports section) into the management plan.
- 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. Funding will be disbursed in U.S. currency to investigators in the United States or Canada.
- 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.
- IRB Approval
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 (at firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as IRB approval is granted, but not later than August 30, 2021.
It is essential to start the IRB approval process early. A lack of IRB determination by August 30, 2021, will automatically disqualify the proposal from funding consideration. The investigator assumes full responsibility for meeting these requirements.
Human Subjects (if IRB approval is not available at time of submission)
If the IRB approval is not available, you should provide the following information (limit 3 pages) in this proposal:
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 the 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.
- Key Personnel (optional)
If applicable, provide the name, affiliation and abbreviated biosketch of key personnel in the proposed study. The abbreviated biosketch should include the following sections: Education/Training, Personal Statement (highlighting skills which relate to the needs of the study) and Positions and Honors.
- 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.
- Letters of Support (optional)
If appropriate, provide letters of support from cooperating agencies, collaborators, or consultants directly involved in the research study.