We seek five years of funding to support improvements to the Boston University Conference on Language Development, which will take place at Boston University each year around the first weekend in November. Now in its 41st year, the conference is internationally recognized as one of the most important annual meetings bringing together researchers in different areas of language acquisition and development, including first and second language acquisition, language disorders, bilingualism, and literacy development. The meeting comprises oral presentations and posters selected through peer review, as well as invited keynote and plenary speakers, symposia on topics of current interest, a research funding workshop, and a publisher exhibit. In this proposal, we are requesting funds for two components to the conference that will increase the quality, visibility, interdisciplinary contribution, health relevance, and accessibility to students (especially students from under- represented populations). First, we would like support for a professional development workshop for students and postdocs, bringing in speakers to discuss a variety of important professional development issues. Second, we will offer new travel awards that give priority to students from underrepresented minorities. The BUCLD serves as a prime venue to bring together researchers from all different areas of language development, who do not typically interact or encounter each other's work regularly elsewhere, thus fostering substantial interaction across theoretical and disciplinary boundaries. It also offers excellent training for students and postdocs, both in the form of access to high quality scholarship and in training activities such as an NIH/NSF funding workshop. The two key pieces we seek to add will not only ensure that the BUCLD continues to be a high quality venue for these activities, but will allow the conference to grow in important new directions that are demonstrated priorities for the scientific community as well as NIH.
PROJECT SUMMARY / RELEVANCE In this conference, researchers from around the world present and discuss the latest advancements in our understanding of how humans learn first and subsequent languages, whether typically developing or with language disorders. They also share, discuss, and debate methodological advances and the implications of current research for our understanding of how the brain functions and develops, and for identification and treatment of children with language disorders.