HHF: Emerging Research Grant (ERG)

Hearing Health Foundation

Grant amount: Up to US $30,000

Anticipated deadline: Dec 1, 2018

Applicant type: Postdoctoral Researcher Research Scientist Faculty

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States

Degree requirements: Applicants must be within 7 years of receiving their PhD

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General Policies And Objectives

Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) awards grants once a year for the project period of July 1 - June 30. A grant represents a mutual joining of interests on the part of HHF, the grantee, and his/her associated institution in the pursuit of a common objective furthering hearing and balance science.

  • The primary purpose of HHF Emerging Research Grant is to enable the investigator to become established and/or to produce quality research that will allow him/her to successfully compete for NIH Grants or grants from other sources.
  • Applications will be considered for research directed to investigation of specified research topic areas of the auditory and vestibular systems to be listed in the Request for Application; both fundamental and clinical research proposals are welcome.
  • HHF grants up to $30,000 per year for each research project and provides a maximum of one year of support. 
  • HHF Emerging Research Grants are intended primarily for promising researchers who are in the early stages of their careers. To be considered in the young investigator category:
    • The applicant must be no more than 7 years beyond the date that the first professional, advanced professional, or terminal academic degree was awarded, whichever is most recent.
    • And, the applicant cannot be a current or prior Principal Investigator on a major independent research award (e.g., R00, R03, R21, R01, VA Merit, DoD, or equivalent). Prior appointment on fellowship/training grants, or prior service as a Principal Investigator on a mentored career development award, is allowable.
  • For Emerging Research Grants in the “General Hearing Health” category, only young investigators may apply.
  • For Emerging Research Grants in subject/disease specific areas (e.g. CAPD, Tinnitus, Hyperacusis, Ménière’s Disease, Usher Syndrome, Stria Vascularis, and Hearing Loss in Children), both young and senior established investigators may apply. Please note that young investigators will be given priority for funding in these categories.

The Council of Scientific Trustees (CST), in conjunction with the Scientific Review Committee (SRC) of HHF, will consider the subject of the research, the quality of its design including the data collection and evaluation components, its potential for significant advancement in basic knowledge or clinical application, the available facilities and personnel at the institution in which the research will be carried out, and the qualifications of the investigators. In accepting a research grant, the institution and the applicant are responsible for using grant funds only for those purposes set forth in the application and approved in the HHF award letter.

Research Topics

Applications must only be submitted in one of the stated research topic areas below. Applications outside of these areas will not be considered.

General Hearing Health

  • Physiology of hearing and balance
  • Epidemiology of auditory and vestibular disorders
  • Human otopathology
  • Diagnosis, treatment and prevention of hearing loss and balance disturbance
  • Human genetics and mouse models of peripheral and central auditory/balance dysfunction
  • Innovation in cellular and molecular therapies
  • Auditory and vestibular implants, and hearing aids

Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD)

  • Normal and abnormal auditory processing
  • Creating testable models of auditory processing disorders
  • Etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of CAPD
  • Genetics of CAPD
  • Development of screening tools and diagnostic tests for CAPD including behavioral, physiologic and neuroimaging
  • Language, music, learning and communication issues related to CAPD

Hearing Loss In Children

  • Etiology of childhood hearing loss (e.g., genetic, infectious, traumatic)
  • Assessment and diagnosis of childhood hearing loss
  • Auditory neuropathy
  • Behavioral, cognitive, developmental, and psychosocial consequences of childhood hearing loss
  • Impact of early intervention
  • Education of the hearing impaired child
  • Cochlear implants and Auditory Brainstem Implants in children


  • Mechanisms of hyperacusis
  • Development of animal models
  • Genetics of hyperacusis
  • Etiology, diagnosis and treatment ofhyperacusis
  • Brain imaging, biomarkers, electrophysiology of hyperacusis
  • Distinctions between hyperacusis and tinnitus
  • Interaction between auditory nerve and trigeminal nerve information

Meniere’s Disease

  • Mechanisms of endolymphatic hydrops including mechanisms of cochlear fluid regulation
  • Genetics of Meniere’s disease
  • Animal modelsof Meniere’s disease
  • Imaging of hydrops
  • Etiology, diagnosis and treatment of Meniere’s disease
  • Vestibular function and dysfunction


  • Peripheral and central mechanisms
  • Role of ion channels, ototoxicity, genetics
  • Subjective and objective assessment
  • Etiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention
  • Imaging of tinnitus

Usher Syndrome

Usher syndrome is characterized hearing loss and retinitis pigmentosa and is the most common cause of combined blindness and deafness. Research focusing on the following areas is of special interest:

  • Etiology, diagnosis and treatment of Usher Syndrome
  • Genetics of Usher syndrome
  • Role of identified genes in hearing and vision
  • Creation of mouse models of Usher syndrome
  • Development of molecular and cellular therapies

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  •  Grant funds may only be used for the direct costs of carrying out approved projects such as:
    • salaries of technical and supporting personnel;
    • limited alteration and renovation of existing facilities;
    • purchase of equipment (cost of equipment should be equal to/greater than $5,000);
    • supplies including drugs and services; and
    • other specifically authorized expenses as may be essential to carrying out the project.
    • If an institution requires an allocation for indirect costs that amount may not exceed $3,000 (10% of the total grant award); regardless of the indirect amount, the HHF award will not exceed $30,000.
  • Eligibility -  Candidate:
    • Applicants must hold an M.D., Ph.D., Au.D., or an equivalent degree.
    • Applicants should demonstrate experience and strong research training as well as sufficient institutional support (facilities, time, and mentorship) to carry out the proposed work.
    • If the applicant is a post-doctoral fellow, it is expected that he or she be at the senior level (e.g., 3 or more years of post-doctoral training).
      • Further, the applicant must demonstrate in the application that he or she is on a pathway to independence.
      • Specifically, the applicant should indicate how the proposed aims will help with his or her transition toward independence from the mentor, including how the proposed research is distinct from the mentor's research program.
    • Applicants to be considered young investigator cannot be a current or prior Principal Investigator on a major independent research award (e.g., R00, R03, R21, R01, VA Merit, DoD, or equivalent).
      • Prior appointment on fellowship/training grants, or prior service as a Principal Investigator on a mentored career development award, is allowable.
    • Principal investigators in early stages of independent research careers will receive top priority for funding.  
    • The applicant must hold an appointment at a non-profit educational, governmental or research institution within the U.S.
      • Appointments may include faculty, postdoctoral fellow, or clinical/research fellow. 
    • The proposed research must address one of the hearing and balance topics advertised in the ERG Request for Applications.
      • A required Letter of Intent must provide justification for the relevance of the proposed research to the designated ERG topic area.
  • Eligibility - Subject Matter/Scientific Merit:
    • Proposed research that is significant and innovative, addressing a question or a set of questions in the new designated topic area that are new and emerging, or that applies an innovative approach to an established question or set of questions. 
    • Proposals should contain well defined hypotheses, significance, experimental design (including planned methods and data analysis), expected outcomes, and interpretations.
    • If the applicant is a post-doctoral fellow, the proposed project must address a question or set of questions that are distinct from the mentor's (or Co-PI's) lines of research.
    • Principal investigator should have relevant experience and strong research training.
    • If applicable, research team should demonstrate complementary expertise.  
    • Institutional and scientific environment suitable for the proposed research, including mentorship as appropriate.
    • Institutional support, equipment, core facilities, research subjects, and other resources should be adequate for the proposed research and available to the investigators. 
  • Total duration of HHF funding allowed:
    • An individual applicant is eligible to receive one year of funding from HHF.
    • The project timeline should not exceed one year. 
  • Limitations - Geographical: Grants are limited to institutions within the United States of America.
  • Limitations - Non Tax-exempt organiations: Grants may be made to public or private not-for-profit tax-exempt institutions, to support research at those institutions by investigators who are formally attached to them. 


  • Grant funds may not be used for the following:
    • salary of applicant, co-investigator or individuals with a doctorate degree;
    • travel;
    • living expenses;
    • reprints;
    • computers, including laptops
    • overhead costs exceeding 10% of project costs; and
    • public information, education programs or training costs (including tuition).
  • Graduate students and medical residents are not eligible to serve as Principal Investigators.
  • Applications for continuations of research supported by prior ERG or other awards or for bridge funding will not be considered. 
  • Ineligibility: The following applications will not be considered:
    • From individuals researching at institutions outside of the U.S.
    • From graduate students.
    • For research continuation or bridge funding.
    • From individuals concurrently receiving support for the proposed project of >$75,000 per annum in direct costs from any other combined source(s) during award period.
      • Funding of pending awards during HHF award period may necessitate the return the balance of HHF award.
    • From individuals who have received one or more years of HHF support within the previous 7 years.
    • For a second year of support for a given project. 
  • Research conducted cannot directly benefit for-profit companies and/or be directed toward a for-profit company's product development unless otherwise agreed to by the HHF Board of Directors in their sole discretion