The American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation (ASHFoundation) invites investigators to submit proposals in competition for up to four research grants of $25,000 each. The New Century Scholars Research Grant is designed to advance knowledge, tools, and techniques in communication sciences and disorders.
While proposal type and content area are not restricted, this grant supports studies that are innovative, have a promise of major impact, or can meet research needs not yet addressed. The funding can be applied to a one- or two-year study.
Note for 2024: 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.
Who Should Apply
- Individuals who are committed to teacher-investigator careers in the university/college academic environment or in external research institutes or laboratories.
- Investigators who want to research ideas and directions new to them (and who are not currently funded in the proposed area of study). By contrast, the research grants are not intended to provide additional or extended support for an established and funded research effort.
- Both experienced and new investigators. Experienced investigators are welcome to submit proposals for pilot studies or similar studies in a demonstrably new area. New investigators submitting a proposal should have received some prior external funding post PhD, as a co-investigator or a principal investigator, but proposals must also meet the intent of new research ideas.
Funding Opportunity for Artificial Intelligence Studies
The ASHFoundation is requesting proposals for studies that include Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies for assessment, screening, diagnosis, and/or treatment in the communication sciences and disorders discipline. Some examples of possible application of AI methodologies include, but are not restricted to, supervised learning (classifiers - neural networks, decision trees, support vector machines, deep learning); unsupervised learning (dimensionality reductions, clustering, self-organizing maps); optimization (AI scheduling, prediction); natural language processing (NLP) models; large language models; chatbots; sentiment analyses; etc. While early-stage studies are welcome, there should be a connection to the clinical discipline clearly articulated in the proposal. For 2024, of the proposals that meet funding criteria and will be funded in this competition, designated funding is available to support at least one study in AI.
Funding Opportunity for Dysphagia Studies
Of the proposals that meet funding criteria and will be funded in this competition, an endowed Swallowing Research Fund is available to support proposals for research topics in swallowing and swallowing disorders. The Swallowing Research Fund was established in 2009 by ASHA Special Interest Group 13 (then Division 13) to support the ASHFoundation's New Century Scholars Research Grant program, and our donor community is pleased that its multi-year growth enables funding.
Investigators must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the New Century Scholars Research Grant.
- The investigator must have received a PhD or equivalent research doctorate within the discipline of communication sciences and disorders.
Note: Due to availability of student research grant and scholarship funds through the ASHFoundation, students currently enrolled in a degree program or working on dissertation research are not eligible for this competition.
- The investigator must demonstrate the potential for and commitment to conducting independent research.
- The research must have significance and direct application to communication sciences and disorders.
- The research setting must be an environment conducive to completing the investigation.
- Experienced investigators must provide an explanation of why the proposed work represents a new effort that is not fundable from existing research support or is not an extension of funding that is currently supporting the work. Further, a clear description of the potential impact of the research must be included. (Regarding funding, experienced investigators are those whose current or recent professional funding history indicates "principal investigator" or "co-investigator" status on research funding costs exceeding $50,000 from agencies other than the investigator's host institution.)
- Preference for funding consideration will be given to ASHA members.
- The proposal submitted to the 2024 New Century Scholars Research Grant competition cannot be submitted to other 2024 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 the proposals based 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 participants.
- 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 level of the grant competition. Because these grants are expected to seed new ideas, the study is expected to have high Significance and Innovation. The Approach and the Investigator criteria are expected to reflect high feasibility for a successful study within the proposed timeframe. (Note: Investigators will be evaluated in comparison to other researchers at a similar point in their careers.)
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. 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." Explain briefly why you are pursuing the proposed study, the specific aims of the proposed research, and how the study fits into your career development plan and programmatic research plan. Include, as appropriate, information relative to your research interests and activities to date. Specifically indicate how your institution will support your research efforts. (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 has been revised to respond to a prior set of reviews.
- Abstract (limit 1 page)
Concisely describe the study's focus, specific aims, methodology, and long-term objectives. Address the clinical application(s) of the study's outcome. Describe the impact of the study and its activities on the discipline of communication sciences and disorders.
- Research Plan (limit 10 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 proposed. This section should outline the significance of the clinical need that exists and the importance of the proposed study in understanding, remediating, or compensating for the problem. Address the potential impact of the study's activities on the discipline of communication sciences and disorders.
Design and Methodology: Provide a description and justification for the study design. Include participants, measurement techniques (including reliability and control measures), instrumentation, data 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 you for carrying out the proposed study. Note collaborative relationships 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, 2024. 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 1 page)
State the importance of the requested funds to the study objectives and indicate how funds will be allocated to specific expense items. If applicable, funding may support studies that might require cross-discipline collaboration and/or specialized equipment to successfully advance the research idea. Funding will not cover institutional overhead and indirect costs. In addition, funding may not be directed to 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.
- Investigator Biographical Sketch (limit 5 pages)
Provide 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(s) and a copy of the Institutional Review Board's (IRB) approval.
If the IRB approval is not available at time of proposal submission, you should clearly explain the status of the IRB approval process and ensure that approval documents are sent to the ASHFoundation (at email@example.com) as soon as IRB approval is granted, but not later than August 30, 2024.
It is essential to start the IRB approval process early. A lack of IRB determination by August 30, 2024, 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.
- 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
Provide the name(s) and affiliation(s) of individual(s) serving as research mentors, collaborators, and/or consultants. For those individuals with a role in the proposed study, indicate the capacity in which each serves and provide an abbreviated biosketch for each. The abbreviated biosketch should only 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 applicable, provide letters of support from cooperating agencies and key personnel (i.e., other collaborators and consultants) involved in the research study.