The main objective of the Technical Support core is to provide program project staff with convenient, well-coordinated, cost-effective access to technical support services that are essential to the proposed research programs. All projects will make extensive use of automated and/or computer-based apparatus to implement the research protocols, to collect data, and to analyze results of experiments. Moreover, this program project represents a readily achievable but nevertheless substantial extension of methodologies used thus far by the participating investigators. All projects will require new custom-purpose apparatus construction, new computer programming to upgrade and extend existing data collection and equipment control software, new methods for collecting and scoring observational data, and/or new statistical methodology. Because these needs are common across projects, centralizing service/support provision within a core makes logistical and financial sense. The core will have four components that respond directly to the needs just articulated. These are: 1) Apparatus construction and maintenance. The core PI will work with external contractors to design, arrange construction of, and maintain test apparatus, some of which will require light mechanical and/or electrical engineering; 2) Computer programming and maintenance. The core PI will work with a consulting computer software engineer to develop, extend, and/or maintain a library of existing software to implement the program project's test protocols; 3) Observational data collection/analysis. The core PI will work with an external consultant to arrange for maximally effective use of the Shdver Center's Observational Coding facility to assist program project investigators in collecting and scoring observational data; 4) Statistical consulting and program project database management. The core co-investigator will assist program project investigators with statistical analysis of their data and arrange for focused consulting, as necessary, to resolve any unusually difficult statistical issues that might arise in the course of the projects. He will also construct and maintain a program project database that will facilitate cross-project datasharing and evaluation. Each of the staff members participating in this core has already fulfilled a role of the type proposed on earlier and/or ongoing research projects, and all are very well-qualified to serve in the capacity proposed here.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1)
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University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester
United States
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