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Funding Consciousness Research with Registered Reports

Submit your application by December 16, 2022.

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Overview
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The Center for Open Science (COS), with generous funding from the Templeton World Charity Foundation, and in collaboration with the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (ASSC), is leading an initiative to promote the use of Registered Reports in consciousness research by funding researchers who use the Registered Reports model at participating journals. 

Registered Reports is a publishing format that emphasizes the importance of the research question and the quality of methodology by conducting peer review prior to data collection. This format is designed to reward best practices in scientific research. 

COS will conduct the grant-making project for consciousness research in partnership with several academic journals using the Registered Reports publishing model. Authors will submit a budget proposal as well as an abstract detailing the research question and proposed methodology to test the question prior to observing the outcomes of the study or studies. After an initial administrative screening by COS staff, the first stage of peer review at the authors journal of choice will assess the importance of the research question and the quality of the methodology proposed to investigate it. If the paper passes this stage of peer review, the authors receive “in-principle acceptance” meaning that the journal commits to publishing the paper regardless of outcomes, as long as the authors follow through with competent execution using pre-approved assessments (e.g., positive controls) and reporting of the research. The second stage of peer review, after the results are known and added to the paper, assesses adherence to the original commitments, clarity of the distinction between planned and unplanned analyses, and accuracy of interpretation of findings -- not whether the results are positive, interesting, or consistent with hypotheses.

Eligibility  Submissions must demonstrate relevance for consciousness research and engage in open science practices.   A submission starts with a brief grant proposal to COS to confirm subject and budget appropriateness. Submissions may be reviewed by a committee of consciousness research experts to assess content. To judge the content appropriateness of your proposal, see our list of participating journals. Only inquiries that confirm eligibility with COS will be sent to the review committee. Following confirmation of eligibility, researchers can submit to participating journals’ Stage 1 peer review in the Registered Reports process. Once in principal acceptance is received, COS will remit award funds to the researcher.

Awards cannot be sent to countries where US law prevents such transactions. Please see the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) FAQs for further details.

 

Award Details

Award funds will be distributed to approved researchers in the $15,000 USD- $50,000 USD range to complete Registered Reports of important research in the field. Authors will agree to meet applicable open science requirements (ie preregistration, open data, code, protocols, preprint) as a condition of grant funding. The open science products produced by each accepted study must be stored in a repository that is accessible for verification and reuse by other researchers. 

 

Grant Application

Please submit the grant application which includes: 

  • A description of the research as a structured abstract
  • A project budget and a brief justification of costs
  • A confirmation of willingness to engage in open science practices such as preregistration; data, code, and materials sharing; and preprint publication 

Submit Now

Grant applications will be accepted beginning in April 2022 and will be closed December 16, 2022 or when funds have been exhausted.


For questions, please contact Olivia Lowrey (olivia.lowrey@cos.io) from the Center for Open Science.


This project was made possible through the support of a grant from Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc.

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FAQs

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What is a Registered Report? 

Registered Reports (https://cos.io/rr) is a publishing format that emphasizes the importance of the research question and the quality of methodology by conducting peer review prior to data collection. Registered Reports are a form of empirical journal article in which methods and proposed analyses are pre-registered and peer-reviewed prior to research being conducted. High quality protocols are then provisionally accepted for publication before data collection commences. This format of article is designed to reward best practice in adhering to the hypothetico-deductive model of the scientific method. It eliminates a variety of questionable research practices, including low statistical power, selective reporting of results, and publication bias, while allowing complete flexibility to conduct exploratory (unregistered) analyses and report serendipitous findings. 

Authors of Registered Reports initially submit a Stage 1 manuscript that includes an introduction, methods, and the results of any pilot experiments that motivate the research proposal. Following assessment of the protocol by editors and reviewers, the manuscript can then be offered in-principle acceptance (IPA), which means that the journal virtually guarantees publication if the authors conduct the experiment in accordance with their approved protocol. With IPA in hand, the researchers then implement the experiment. Following data collection, they resubmit a Stage 2 manuscript that includes the introduction and methods from the original submission plus the results and discussion. The results section includes the outcome of the pre-registered analyses together with any additional unregistered analyses in a separate section titled “Exploratory Analyses”. The final complete article is published after this process is complete. A published Registered Report will thus appear very similar to a standard research report but will give readers confidence that the hypotheses and main analyses are free of questionable research practices or biases.

What qualifies as “consciousness research”? 

Reviewers will consider applications for studies researching consciousness from a variety of disciplines and perspectives including, but not limited to, neuroscientific, psychological, medical, or cognitive approaches. Researchers with studies in fields related to those mentioned are also welcome to apply. 

Am I eligible to apply for this grant? 

To be eligible for this grant, an applicant must: 

  • Use the award to fund an empirical study researching consciousness.
  • Reside in an eligible country. Awards cannot be sent to countries where US law prevents such transactions. Please see the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) FAQs for further details.
  • Agree to follow the Registered Reports model at participating journals. 
  • Engage in open science practices to the greatest extent possible, including preregistration, study materials and analytical code sharing, data sharing, and posting of preprints. 
  • Conduct their study and prepare their paper for publication by the end of 2024.

When are grant applications due? 

Grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Grant applications will be accepted beginning in April 2022 and will be closed December 16, 2022 or when funds have been exhausted. Due to the rolling nature of application acceptance, submitting an application as early as possible will maximize your chances of being funded.  

What needs to be included in my grant application? 

Everything required for a complete grant application is included in the this form which contains spaces for: a description of the research as a structured abstract with background, objectives, and methods; a project budget and a brief justification of costs; a written confirmation of willingness to engage in open science practices such as preregistration; data, code, and materials sharing; and preprint publication.

What is the timeline for the application and publication process? 

The timeline for application and publication will look different for each application and will depend heavily on the feedback from Stage 1 review as well as the duration of the study being conducted. After submitting the application, you will receive notification on acceptance or rejection of your submission from the Center for Open Science within weeks. The timeframe for the Registered Reports process will vary based on the feedback received from reviewers. 

When will I receive funding for my study? 

Funding for the study will be distributed at two points in time: Initial funding including all Human Subjects Research costs and 50% of any additional costs will be distributed once COS receives proof of in-principle acceptance from a participating journal AND ethics approval (if applicable) form your research institution. 

The remainder of the funding will be distributed once COS receives proof of publication confirmation of the study at the participating journal and proof of maximal open science behavior engagement. 

Can I apply for the grant multiple times? 

A researcher, or group of researchers, can apply for funds multiple times if the funds will be used in distinct studies. That is, a single researcher or group of researchers can apply for funding multiple times, but a study can only receive funding once. 

What is considered as an exceptional application for funding up to $50,000 USD?

Although the typical award will be made in the amount of $15,000-$20,000 USD, budget proposals can exceed this amount up to a maximum of $50,000 USD. Applicants must have a compelling justification for requesting funding above $20,000 USD, detailed in the project and budget proposals. Justification of the request for funding will be rigorously reviewed by a COS review panel. While budgets that request $50,000 USD may be approved, there will be a greater number of awards distributed in the $15,000-$20,000 USD range.

Advisory Panel
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Applications may be reviewed for content appropriateness by an expert panel from the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness.
  • Olivia Carter, Professor at the University of Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences
    Olivia is a Professor at the University of Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences.  She completed a PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Queensland, followed by a post-doctoral research fellowship in the Vision Science Lab at Harvard University. She currently heads the Human Experience lab where her research interests focus on understanding the factors determine the contents of an individual’s conscious experience and the impact of altered perceptual function in psychiatric and neurological populations. Olivia is also interested in the impact of neuroscientific advances within industry and society.  She has previously served as the Executive Director of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness and the president to the Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society.
  • Megan Peters, Assistant Professor, Cognitive Sciences, University of California Irvine
    Megan Peters is an Assistant Professor of Cognitive Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. Her research aims to reveal how the brain represents and uses uncertainty, and performs adaptive computations based on noisy, incomplete information. She specifically focus on how these abilities support metacognitive evaluations of the quality of (mostly perceptual) decisions, and how these processes might relate to phenomenology and conscious awareness. She uses neuroimaging, computational modeling, machine learning and neural stimulation techniques to study these topics. Her research and professional activities are funded by the TWCF Accelerating Research on Consciousness initiative, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Institutes of Health, and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. She also co-founded Neuromatch, a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on global neuroscience education and community, and serves as its President and Chairperson of the Board.

  • Biyu He, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience & Physiology, and Radiology at New York University Grossman School of Medicine

    Biyu He is Assistant Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience & Physiology, and Radiology at New York University Grossman School of Medicine. Her laboratory uses a combination of multimodal human brain imaging, brain stimulation, and computational approaches to investigate the neural mechanisms of conscious and unconscious perceptual processing in the human brain. She has received a Society for Neuroscience Trubatch Career Development Award, an NSF CAREER Award, a Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Award, and an Irma T. Hirschl Career Scientist Award, among other awards. She currently serves as the lead PI of a consortium project, funded by the TWCF Accelerating Research on Consciousness initiative, to test theories of consciousness through adversarial collaboration and open science. 

  • Simon Van Gaal, Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology of the University of Amsterdam

    Simon is an associate professor at the Department of psychology of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). He completed his PhD in cognitive neuroscience in 2009. After that he has been a postdoc at the Neurospin institute and Hospital Salpetriere in Paris and a visiting researcher at the Donders centre for Neuroimaging in Nijmegen. Simon now heads the conscious brain Lab at the UvA. In his lab they study the neural mechanisms of consciousness using a combination of behavioral psychophysics, neuroimaging (mainly MEG, EEG and fMRI), cognitive modeling, pupil size/eye-movements and pharmacological interventions. Simon is a board member of the ASSC since 2016.

  • Jacobo Sitt, Principal Investigator at the Paris Brain Institute
    I am an Argentinean psychiatrist with multidisciplinary training (Ph.D. in Physics of Dynamical Systems). After my Ph.D. I did a post-doc with Stanislas Dehaene (2010-2015), and currently, I am leading my group at the ICM Institute in Paris as a DR2-INSERM (full professor). My research focuses on developing and testing neural markers of consciousness state using different experimental models (such as brain-injuries, sleep, or anesthesia), neuroimaging methods (M/EEG, sEEG, fMRI) and stimulation techniques (tES). This research permits to tackle fundamental questions related to conscious processing but also to translate this knowledge to the bedside of patients with disorders of consciousness to improve diagnosis and treatment.