The number of scientists in Communication Sciences and Disorders competing successfully for research funding, producing impactful research, and advancing the scientific base of the discipline is challenged by several factors. These factors include persistent faculty and researcher shortages, obstacles to research career advancement, and scientific expansion within the discipline. This application proposes continued support of ASHA?s Lessons for Success conference, which has been successfully addressing these challenges for the past 15 years. At this 2.5-day conference, federally funded researchers provide training and guidance in grant writing and research career competencies to 30 highly promising early-career scientists in communication sciences and disorders and related disciplines, annually. The conference combines presentations, mock grant reviews, small-group discussions, and one-on-one sessions to inform participants about grantsmanship and professional research career competencies that contribute positively to their research productivity as well as their career satisfaction and retention. Participants become well oriented to the milestones of a research career and well coached on how to successfully achieve these milestones through individual work sessions with conference faculty on refining 5-year plans, revising in-progress Abstract and Specific Aims sections, and addressing current career challenges. Innovative elements proposed in this application include extending the Lessons for Success experience before and after the conference days to provide additional opportunities for development along the research pipeline. Those without the requisite grant-writing experience will have the opportunity to participate in a more entry-level program to help them become eligible to apply for Lessons for Success. Those who have completed Lessons for Success will be invited to build their reviewing, mentoring, and networking skills through a variety of opportunities. Program evaluation data are collected immediately following the conference. Participant outcomes data regarding funding success and retention in a research career are collected at 2 years and 5 years following the conference. Over the next 5-year funding cycle, Lessons for Success aims to expand its impact on the research pipeline by advancing the research career development, scholarly productivity, retention, and funding success of approximately 150 early-career scientists focused on research in Communication Sciences and Disorders.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), millions of people in the United States have a communication or related disorder. Thirty million people 12 years of age or older have hearing loss in both ears, 6?8 million people have some form of a language impairment, and 7.5 million people have a voice difficulty. The Lessons for Success program aims to increase the generation of research in Communication Sciences and Disorders by providing educational support and guidance to 150 of the most promising early-career scientists, which will lead to improvements in the communication health of millions people with communication or related disorders.