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. However, proposals will be considered if a new 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.
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.
Mentored Research Studies (one- or two-year studies)
- Clinical Research Grants for mentored research studies are similar to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) F32 award; investigators need to identify mentors with histories of conducting efficacy research and securing successful funding who agree to be actively involved in mentoring throughout the study. New investigators, especially post-docs, are good candidates for this grant mechanism.
- Proposals must include a description of a research study that can be completed within two years. A mentoring plan is also required to demonstrate the mentor's involvement from the review of the plan through implementation, dissemination, and preparation of an external grant proposal to support continued research on the proposed problem.
- Proposals that document matching funds or other support via university or extramural funding will be given priority. The budget justification should explain how ASHFoundation funds will be used in the context of other available support. (For example, if the investigator is working in an active treatment efficacy lab in a post-doctoral fellowship role, the majority of the funds could support the investigator's salary. If the investigator is a new investigator in a faculty position, the majority of the funds might be expected to fund the research activities directly.)
- If the mentor is working with the investigator at a different institution, funds for travel and consultation should be included in the maximum budget of $50,000.
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.
Note: Proposals will be accepted from individuals in the final stages of completing their dissertation. However, no awards will be given to individuals who have not received a PhD by September 1, 2021.
- 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.
- Candidates for a mentored study must identify a mentor willing to provide a firm commitment for at least one year. Proposals that document matching funds via a university or the mentor's extramural funding will be given priority.
- 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.
Additional Criteria for the Mentored Research Studies
Mentor and Mentoring Plan: The suitability of the mentor to oversee the conduct of the proposed research considers:
- Mentor's evidence of relevant research interests, experience, and productivity, including funding history.
- Mentor's assessment of the research potential of the investigator.
- Mentoring plan's potential to provide the level of oversight and supervision for the investigator to complete the study.
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 (mentored), 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.
- Mentoring Plan (limit 2 pages)
A statement from the mentor(s) should describe the level of involvement planned for mentoring the investigator throughout the study. The mentor(s) should explain the nature and extent of supervision and commitment to the investigator's development during the study period, as well as the availability and source of support for the investigator's research study. The mentor(s) should also include an assessment of the investigator's potential for pursuing a research career. The mentor(s) should describe their background in conducting the proposed type of research, including a summary of their funding history.
- 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 the ASHFoundation report deadline (see above Required Report 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.
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.
- Mentor Biographical Sketch(es) (limit 5 pages for each individual)
Submit an NIH-style biographical sketch for each participating individual.
- 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 applicable, provide letters of support from cooperating agencies, collaborators, or consultants directly involved in the research study.