The American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation (ASHFoundation) invites master's and doctoral (research or clinical) students to compete for the Student Research Grant in Early Childhood Language Development, supported by the Arlene M. and Noel D. Matkin Memorial Fund.

This grant memorializes Arlene Matkin, whose professional work was dedicated to early identification and intervention for young children with language delays and disorders. It also memorializes pioneering pediatric audiologist Noel Matkin, who dedicated his professional life to early identification and intervention for children with hearing loss and was committed to the integration of these children into the mainstream. This grant is intended to support studies that focus on children at the preschool or earliest school developmental level.

In 2024, up to three grants of $2,000 each will be awarded.


Students must meet the following requirements to be eligible for the Student Research Grant in Early Childhood Language Development.

  1. Students must be master’s or doctoral (research or clinical) degree students enrolled in, or accepted for, graduate study in speech-language pathology or speech-language science at an academic program in the United States.
  1. Students must be enrolled for full-time study for the full academic year.
  1. Master’s degree candidates must be in a program accredited by, or in candidacy status from, the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
  1. Proposals must be for research to be initiated in early childhood language development. Preference will be given to research addressing populations who are early verbal in their language production and use. If applicable to the type of study, proposals in this area of child language can be inclusive of children with hearing impairment.

Evaluation Criteria

A review panel will evaluate proposals based on the following five criteria:

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Investigator: The perceived ability to carry out the study in the specified time period, reflected by appropriate training, experience, and past accomplishments. The student investigator outlines clear and detailed management and budget plans.
  1. Environment: The extent to which the student has access to needed scientific facilities, resources, personnel, and participants.
  1. Innovation: The refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, methods, or interventions.

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, 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. A tightly designed, feasible study is most appropriate for the Student Research Grant in Early Childhood Language Development competition.

For student investigators, for example, the Approach criterion would be more heavily weighted. The promise of the Investigator will be highly prioritized, but will be evaluated in comparison to other student researchers in the field and based on the investigator's ability to clearly describe the activities and timeline necessary to complete the study in one year.

Proposal Guidelines

Proposal text should be single-spaced and place in ONE PDF document containing all required sections in the order indicated. Please use stated titles (below) as section headers and include page numbers. Any page(s) exceeding the length limitation will not be considered by the review panel. Selected font should be 12 point and uncondensed, and margins should be at least 1 inch.

  1. Biographical Sketch (limit 1 page)
    Provide a brief biographical sketch that includes, at minimum, professional interests, research experience and publications/papers.
  1. Abstract (limit 1 page)
    Describe the study's specific aims, methodology and long-term objectives, referring to the scientific disciplines involved. Relate the study to clinical practice and its potential impact on early childhood language development.
  1. Research Plan (limit 10 pages)

    1. Specific Aims: Present the problem or issue to be addressed and the specific objectives of the investigation.

    2. Significance of Research: Outline the significance of the existing need and the importance of the proposed study in understanding, remediating, or compensating for the problem.

    3. Design Methods, Procedures, and Evaluation: Provide both a description and a justification of the study design, including participants, measurement techniques, instrumentation, data analysis, and evaluation procedures. Address ecological validity if the type of research warrants this. Address potential challenges that could impact completion of the study. This section should provide enough detail for reviewers to make informed judgments about the soundness of the proposed research procedures.

    4. Facilities and Resources: Describe the facilities, resources, and participants available to the student for carrying out the proposed study.

  1. Management Plan and Budget (limit 2 pages)
    Outline study activities with timelines and justify budget items. The study start date will be December 1, 2024. Incorporate the ASHFoundation final report deadline (see above Required Report section) into the timeline. Indirect costs and travel expenses for meetings, or for the ASHA Convention, to present research results may not be included in the budget.
  1. Human Subjects (limit 3 pages)
    Submit evidence that the proposal meets the requirements for adequate protection of participants by attaching a statement of support from your Institutional Review Board. Also acceptable is a statement outlining the elements of the design and procedures that follow accepted practices and are recognized as providing adequate protection for participants. This statement should be signed by the student and mentor.
  1. Bibliography (limit 2 pages)
  1. Letter of Support
    Submit a letter from your academic adviser and/or research mentor indicating that the proposed study will not present a conflict of interest with your current responsibilities and commitments. This letter of support should also comment on the merits of the proposed study.