2018 Educational Starter Grants

Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.

DEADLINE was JULY 24, 2018

ASCO is pleased to announce its call for applications for the 2018 Educational Starter Grants dedicated to supporting educational research. Funding from The Vision Care Institute, LLC, an affiliate of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. will partially support the starter grants.

  • The amount and number of awards will vary depending on the individual projects. Grants from $1,000-$6,000 will be considered. Grants cannot cover indirect institutional costs, salaries for the principal investigator or others administering the grant, administrative expenses or travel expenses.
  • Funds will be used to develop research methods, to include reflection and analysis, focus groups, surveys, observational research case studies and other tools. 

The educational research starter grants will serve to introduce and support the concepts of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). However, all types of educational research projects will be considered. Additionally, collaborations between institutions are encouraged.

The concept of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning applies to all disciplines and levels of academia. The Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University describes the scholarship of teaching and learning as embracing teaching as a worthy subject for research, with the goal of producing a public body of knowledge that is reviewed, developed and tested for the purpose of increasing effective teaching and student learning. The scholarship of teaching and learning is illustrated by:

  • The use of teaching (didactic, clinical, laboratory etc.) as a subject for research.
  • Asking questions about student learning and the teaching activities designed to promote student learning in an effort, at least in part, to improve one’s own teaching practice.
  • Answering those questions by systematically analyzing evidence of student learning.
  • Sharing the results of that analysis publicly in order to invite review and to contribute to the body of knowledge on student learning in a variety of contexts.

For more information on SoTL: A Guide from the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching; Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, 2016, is available at https://my.vanderbilt.edu/sotl/.

Implementation: Faculty from all schools and colleges of optometry in the 50 states in the U.S. and Puerto Rico are invited to submit an educational research proposal related to education, teaching or learning.

Proposals will be evaluated by a review committee. This review committee may be composed of journal reviewers, the journal editor or other faculty experienced in educational research. The committee’s charge in addition to evaluating the grant proposals is to give feedback to all applicants and to ensure high quality educational research is selected for funding.

Selection Criteria: Rigorous selection criterion will be used by the review board to ensure these grants are funding high quality educational research. All proposals should be well written and clearly describe the outcomes of the proposed research. The information below can be used as a guideline.

  1. Clear goals
    Does the proposal contain a clearly stated purpose, goal or hypothesis?
  2. Adequate preparation
    Does the proposal show an understanding of existing scholarship in the field?
    Does the proposal bring together the resources necessary to move the project forward?
  3. Appropriate Methods
    Does the proposal utilize valid research methods, including assessment appropriate to the goals?
    Is the methodology sound and appropriate for the task?
  4. Significant results
    Does the proposal have potential to impact education, teaching or learning?
    Does the proposal open additional areas for further exploration?
    Does the project identify specific, anticipated changes to the learning/teaching environment?
  5. Evaluation of Budget
    Is the budget reasonable?
    Does the budget support the attainment of the research goals?

Adapted from: International Journal of Teaching and Scholarship (http://academics.georgiasouthern.edu/ijsotl/rp.htm)

Outcomes: The outcomes of the research project will be published in Optometric Education, The Journal of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry.

Dissemination: Dissemination of educational research is an important component of producing evidence for teaching and learning. Completion of the project requires that the project coordinator formally writes up the project in a manuscript submitted to Optometric Education for publication. The manuscript will be reviewed through the journal’s peer review process and the author(s) will agree to make any needed revision to the manuscript necessary for publication in a timely manner.

Timeline: Submit a completed application via email to ASCO’s Business Operations Manager, Ms. Sara Lau, at slau@opted.org. DEADLINE was midnightJuly 24, 2018. Confirmation of received applications will be sent via email within 36 hours of receipt. Final decisions will be made and notifications to applicants will be completed by August 14, 2018.

Project completion date: Completion of the project and submission of the manuscript is expected by December 29, 2019.  A brief (1-2 paragraph) interim status report is due to ASCO, by March 1, 2019.


  • Funding for the grant will be distributed to the grant recipient’s institution. Please identify in your cover letter the name of the person at your institution responsible for receiving grant funding.
  • At the completion of the manuscript (due December 29, 2019), the itemized budget and all receipts relating to the cost of the project must be submitted to ASCO. Any unused funds must be returned to ASCO.



I. Cover Sheet

In a cover letter, include the institution’s name, project title, coordinator(s) with contact information, and the designated recipient at the institution who will receive the funding.

    II. Description of Educational Research Project – Please uses the information below as a template for your grant application.

    For SOTL projects:

Provide a statement of impact: Describe the potential significance and impact of the proposed research project on the teaching/learning environment.

  • Provide a description of the course learning objectives and /or goals you were trying to improve.
  • Provide a description of what you saw in your students’ behavior (test scores, class participation, writing, etc.) that indicated the need for a change in teaching strategies to better meet learning objectives and /or goals.
  • Describe your goals/purpose for this project.
  • Describe the proposed changes in teaching methods.
  • Describe the method of measuring outcomes or student learning.
  • Demonstrate evidence of understanding existing literature or what has been done in similar situations.
  • What specific changes do you anticipate in the teaching/learning environment as a result of your project?
  • Describe the impact and /or the significance of the project.
  • Provide a timeline.

For Educational Research projects: 

Provide a statement of impact: Describe the potential significance and impact of the proposed research project on the teaching/learning environment.

  • Provide a description of the proposed research project goals and objectives.
  • Demonstrate evidence of understanding existing literature.
  • Describe the impact and /or the significance of the project.
  • Describe research question(s) or hypothesis.
  • Describe methodology to be implemented, including outcomes assessment.
  • What specific changes do you anticipate in the teaching/learning environment as a result of your project?
  • Provide a timeline.

III. Budget

  • Please provide an itemized budget with justification for each of the items listed.
  • Will the applicant receive in–kind or other types of support from their home institution or other funding source?

IV. Curriculum Vitas (CV)

  • Include the main investigator’s CV in the proposal.

For more information contact:
Aurora Denial OD
Editor, Optometric Education

Send completed grants to:
Sara Lau at slau@opted.org
Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry
6110 Executive Boulevard, Suite 420
Rockville, MD  20852

DEADLINE: was July 24, 2018

Information on our past Educational Starter Grants information is here.