This application is for a continuing institutional grant designed to provide research training in the area of communication disorders and sciences, for four predoctoral and two postdoctoral trainees per year. Hands-on apprenticeship training is provided in three interrelated areas: (1) Foundational; (2) Developmental Disorders; (3) Neurological and Degenerative Disorders. Fourteen active researchers in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences will serve as the participating faculty. These individuals routinely collaborate on projects that cut across these research areas. Advanced coursework will be taken; however, the main purpose of the training program is to provide intensive interactive research experience leading toward the establishment of successful independent clinical investigators. The proposed program focuses especially on the recruitment and training of individuals with a basic science background who wish to pursue research careers in communication disorders, and individuals with a primarily clinical background whose prior research training was minimal. Along with the laboratory research experience, trainees will gain grant experience through a required research grant writing course and the preparation of F31/F32/R21 fellowship applications. Both predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees will be funded for two years. Predoctoral students will be funded before and after their two-year training grant funding through university fellowships, their major advisors' R01 grants, and, if awarded, individual F31 fellowships. The structure and emphasis of the proposed program should help to address the critical shortage of active and successful researchers in the field of communication disorders and related areas.
The number of successful researchers working in the area of deafness and other communication disorders is not sufficient to meet current needs. In this application, we propose a training program designed to bolster the research skills of clinicians and to introduce basic scientists to the study of communication disorders. Through this program, we can increase the proportion of PhDs who make substantive scientific contributions to our knowledge of the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders of communication.
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