The primary purpose of this Research Core Center is to promote advancements in the science and understanding of communication by fostering a collaborative environment among a diverse group of investigators. A key element of this purpose is a shared commitment across the participating Pis to data sharing and standardization of research methodologies across laboratories. An Executive Committee, consisting of the Program Director, Program Co-Director, and each of the three Core Directors, will administer the center operations and make key management and strategic decisions. Core 1 will hire personnel to recruit specific populations of hard-to-reach subjects such as children with autism, young children, adolescents and elderly adults, and to administer routine and standardized screening tests. Core 2 will develop centralized and standardized tools for human subject management and data gathering, and will establish a research participant registry and relational database that will facilitate the secure storage and retrieval of information pertaining to subject groups and screening profiles. Finally, Core 3 will undertake the development and dissemination to research laboratories of broadly applicable tools for the analysis and integration of complex data. The Executive Committee will work with individual staff members and investigators to improve functionality of each core. The Executive Committee will work with individual investigators to make suggestions on how to leverage achievements in data sharing and experimental tool upgrading and standardization towards the establishment of new and innovative cross-laboratory collaborations. It will have regular meetings to discuss problems and strategies for solutions to problems that develop between the constituent cores and for problems within cores that are unable to be resolved within the core itself. The Director will have overall decision-making authority in the event that problems are not resolved by action of the committee. The committee will review applications for employment of staff personnel, will review the performance of staff members and will make decisions on hiring and dismissal. The committee will also evaluate yearly progress in relation to the goals of increasing collaborative research, enhancement of research productivity, strengths and weaknesses of the Center's operations, effective use of facilities and staff, and will review recommendations from Pis for improvement of the Center's operation.
The Research Core Center will improve research on the science and disorders of human communication by increasing collaboration among investigators, establishing subject and data management tools and promoting the development of analytical tools for complex data analysis. Achievement of these goals requires careful administration by an executive committee comprised of key investigators in the department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and the Linguistics Department at Northwestern University.