Undergraduate Research Grant Program Now Open

IBACS is happy to announce another year of the undergraduate research grant program! Please share with the undergraduate students in your labs.

The application period for the Fall 2022/Spring 2023 research grant program opens today, September 1st, 2022, and the deadline for applications will be 11:59 pm on February 202023The academic year applications are reviewed on arolling basis and awards will be made until funds are exhausted, or up until the application deadline. 

It is expected that applicants will be conducting research with IBACS faculty members, focusing on any research area associated with the IBACS mission.  Faculty sponsors will need to supply a letter of recommendation. Once the applicant lists the faculty advisor of the project in the form, an email will be sent to the faculty member with directions for how to submit the letter.  Applicants must fill out the online application, and also submit via the online application, a relatively short research plan (maximum of 6,000 characters, approximately 3 pages) and a budget that explains in detail how the funds will be spent. The application link is listed below. It is recommended that the student first compose the research plan and budget using a word processing program, and then upload the final versions on to the website.

This program is not meant to provide direct financial support to students. Instead, it is meant to provide support for the research. The account will be set up with the faculty sponsor after the award is given. The funding is meant to defray the research-related costs such as materials & supplies, software, animal or participant-related costs. The budget should reflect these expenditures.

 Recipients cannot apply for another grant within the same academic year, however, are eligible for the summer research grant program, provided that they are still a UConn student at the time. Please note that the application period for the summer research grant program will open on February 20, 2023, and the deadline for applications will be 11:59 pm on March 13, 2023

The IBACS undergraduate award academic year applications are reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • The project description is well written and clearly explains the project.
  • The project clearly focuses on a research area associated with the IBACS mission.
  • The budget is itemized, appropriate to the project described, and reports the total cost of the project (even if it exceeds the funding requested).
  • The advisor is familiar with the student’s project and rates the student’s work to date highly. 
  • Where project applications are equally meritorious, the reviewers will take note of how the student’s project will contribute to the advisor’s research goals.
  • The student and his/her project meet the eligibility criteria.
  • The student has secured research compliance approval(s) if necessary for the project. No award will be issued until documentation of approval(s) is received.

       

      IBACS Fall 2022/Spring 2023 Application: https://quest.uconn.edu/prog/ibacs_undergraduate_research_grant_-_fall_2022spring_2023/

      Please visit our website for more information and contact our Institute Coordinator, Crystal Mills at crystal.mills@uconn.edu or (860) 486-4937 if you have any questions

      New Call for IBACS Seed Grant Application

      The Connecticut Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (CT IBACS) is pleased to announce a new call for applications to its seed grant fund.

       

      The seed grant program is intended to fund research consistent with the IBACS mission. Large Seed Grant applications (>$10,000 but <$25,000) are time-limited to accommodate GA assignment; the Fall deadline is October 1st, 2022Please submit letters of intent as soon as possible, but at least 2 weeks prior to the seed grant application deadline (by 9/16/22), to allow time for review and feedback prior to submission of the full proposal.

      A reminder that our Spring deadline will be April 1st, 2023Small Seed Grant applications (<$10,000) are accepted on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted.

      Seed funding is intended to support direct research costs such as supplies, participant fees, animal costs, and student support. Review criteria seek innovative, novel, and collaborative projects in the field of brain and cognitive sciences.  Postdocs can also apply, with a faculty mentor as co-PI. Undergraduates are directed to separate academic/summer funding. Full details on the seed grant program, including applications (letter of intent and full seed app) and allowable costs, please check our website.

      The Institute also invites applications for affiliate memberships.

      Any questions should be directed to the Institute Coordinator, Crystal Mills at crystal.mills@uconn.edu or (860) 486-4937.

      Reminder: Register for the IBACS Meet & Speak on 4/29

      A reminder that registration is open for the IBACS Meet & Speak on 4/29! Details can be found below, including the talk title and abstract for our keynote talk by Dr. Takao Hensch at Harvard University. We hope you can join us!

      Dear IBACS community,

      We are excited to officially invite you to attend the IBACS 2022 Meet and Speak event on Friday, April 29th from 2-6pm.This event will be in-person in Bousfield A106.

      Affiliated faculty will give 10-minute talks, most of which are on the research they have carried out, or propose carrying out, with seed funding previously awarded by IBACS. Affiliated graduate students who have received IBACS funding will be presenting 5-minute “datablitz” style talks.

      The IBACS Meet & Speak will provide an opportunity to learn more about the diverse research that IBACS affiliates are engaged in, and will provide a forum for cross-disciplinary networking. We hope you can join us, please register here for all or part of the event.

      Schedule

      2:00PM – Introduction

      2:10PM – Faculty Talks (10 minutes each)

      3:00PM – Graduate Student Data Blitz (5 minutes each)

      3:30PM – Keynote Speaker: Dr. Takao Hensch, Harvard University

      Talk Title: Balancing Brain Plasticity/Stability

      Abstract: Brain function is largely shaped by experience in early life, creating windows of both great opportunity and vulnerability. Our work has focused on the biological basis for such critical periods, identifying both “triggers” and “brakes” on plasticity. Strikingly, the maturation of particular inhibitory circuits is pivotal for the onset timing of these windows. Manipulations of their emergence can either accelerate or delay developmental trajectories regardless of chronological age. Notably, many neurodevelopmental disorders are linked to alterations in excitatory-inhibitory balance, suggesting shifted critical period timing as part of their etiology. Closure of critical periods in turn reflects an active process, rather than a purely passive loss of plasticity factors. Lifting these brakes allows the reopening of plastic windows later in life, but may also underlie instability in disease states. Thus, understanding how brain plasticity and stability are balanced throughout life offers new insight into mental illness and novel therapeutic strategies for recovery of function in adulthood.

      4:30PM – Panel Discussion: Featuring Takao Hensch, Erika Skoe, and Natale Sciolino

      Innovations and the intersections of technology in Neuro/Cognitive Science

      5:00PM – Wine and Cheese Social in Atrium

      A more detailed program including speaker names and talk titles will be shared soon.

      Best,

      Holly Fitch, IBACS Director

      Crystal Mills, IBACS Coordinator

      Join us for COGS Colloquium: Dr. Hady Ba

      Please join the Cognitive Science Program on 4/22 for our next Colloquium!
       
      Image of Hady Ba

      Speaker: Dr. Hady Ba, Associate-Professor of Philosophy at Cheikh Anta Diop University, Visiting Fullbright Scholar  

      Time & Location: 4pm, Friday, April 22, 2022 in Oak 117. Light refreshments will be provided. 

      Talk TitleApe Linguistics and the Chomsky/Norvig debate 

      AbstractAccording to Chomsky, statistical models of language, even though pragmatically successful can’t teach us anything about the nature of language which is rule based. Norvig disagree. According to him science goes from accumulation of data to explanation and back. In this talk, I’ll first show that despite advances in the statistical treatment of language, what happens is that the most successful algorithms for translation, completion and dialogue seem to mimic our brains treatment of language but have some limitations that we don’t know yet how to get rid of. Does this mean that we need better linguistic theories to get to the next step? To respond to this question, I will use data from animal linguistic cognition. I’ll argue that our experiments in teaching language to monkeys and the use by some researchers of tools from linguistics to analyze natural communicative production of apes show that there is a very specific, probably innate, component in humans’ ability to not only produce but also understand language. I will argue that contrary to what Chomsky think, this component goes beyond universal grammar and is probably due to the very peculiar nature of human sociability.  

      Bio: An Associate-Professor of Philosophy at Cheikh Anta Diop University, Hady BA is a Fulbright Scholar from Senegal. He holds a PhD in Cognitive Science from The Jean Nicod Institute in Paris. Before coming back to Dakar, Hady Ba has worked on the development of Natural Language Processing tools that uses open-source resources like the web to detect and anticipate security threats. He’s currently writing a book on the epistemology of the Global South and has an ongoing project on animal cognition comparing human and non-human cognition.  

      Meeting opportunities: Dr. Ba will be available during the day of his talk for individual or small-group meetings on Zoom or in-person. Please contact Crystal at crystal.mills@uconn.edu if you are interested.

      COGS Colloquium: Dr. Hady Ba on 4/22

      Please join the Cognitive Science Program on 4/22 for our next Colloquium!
       
      Image of Hady Ba

      Speaker: Dr. Hady Ba, Associate-Professor of Philosophy at Cheikh Anta Diop University, Visiting Fullbright Scholar  

      Time & Location: 4pm, Friday, April 22, 2022 in Oak 117. Light refreshments will be provided. 

      Talk TitleApe Linguistics and the Chomsky/Norvig debate 

      AbstractAccording to Chomsky, statistical models of language, even though pragmatically successful can’t teach us anything about the nature of language which is rule based. Norvig disagree. According to him science goes from accumulation of data to explanation and back. In this talk, I’ll first show that despite advances in the statistical treatment of language, what happens is that the most successful algorithms for translation, completion and dialogue seem to mimic our brains treatment of language but have some limitations that we don’t know yet how to get rid of. Does this mean that we need better linguistic theories to get to the next step? To respond to this question, I will use data from animal linguistic cognition. I’ll argue that our experiments in teaching language to monkeys and the use by some researchers of tools from linguistics to analyze natural communicative production of apes show that there is a very specific, probably innate, component in humans’ ability to not only produce but also understand language. I will argue that contrary to what Chomsky think, this component goes beyond universal grammar and is probably due to the very peculiar nature of human sociability.  

      Bio: An Associate-Professor of Philosophy at Cheikh Anta Diop University, Hady BA is a Fulbright Scholar from Senegal. He holds a PhD in Cognitive Science from The Jean Nicod Institute in Paris. Before coming back to Dakar, Hady Ba has worked on the development of Natural Language Processing tools that uses open-source resources like the web to detect and anticipate security threats. He’s currently writing a book on the epistemology of the Global South and has an ongoing project on animal cognition comparing human and non-human cognition.  

      Meeting opportunities: Dr. Ba will be available during the day of his talk for individual or small-group meetings on Zoom or in-person. Please contact Crystal at crystal.mills@uconn.edu if you are interested.

      Join us at the IBACS Meet & Speak on 4/29

      We are excited to officially invite you to attend the IBACS 2022 Meet and Speak event on Friday, April 29th from 2-6pm. This event will be in-person in Bousfield A106. 
       
      Affiliated faculty will give 10-minute talks, most of which are on the research they have carried out, or propose carrying out, with seed funding previously awarded by IBACS. Affiliated graduate students who have received IBACS funding will be presenting 5-minute “datablitz” style talks. 
       
      The IBACS Meet & Speak will provide an opportunity to learn more about the diverse research that IBACS affiliates are engaged in, and will provide a forum for cross-disciplinary networking. We hope you can join us, please register here for all or part of the event

      Schedule 

      2:00PM – Introduction
      2:10PM – Faculty Talks (10 minutes each)
      3:00PM – Graduate Student Data Blitz (5 minutes each)
      3:30PM – Keynote Speaker: Dr. Takao Hensch, Harvard University
      4:30PM – Panel Discussion: Featuring Takao Hensch, Erika Skoe, and Natale Sciolino
      5:00PM – Wine and Cheese Social in Atrium
      A more detailed program including speaker names, talk titles, and the panel discussion topic will be shared soon.

      Now Accepting IBACS Spring Seed Grant Applications

      The Connecticut Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (CT IBACS) is pleased to announce a new call for applications to its seed grant fund. 

       

      The seed fund is intended to fund activities in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (broadly construed) that are likely to lead to applications for external funding, or which otherwise contribute to the mission of the Institute. Note that funding is primarily intended to cover direct research costs such as supplies, participant fees, or per diems, as well as student support. The review criteria promote innovative, novel, and collaborative projects in the field of brain and cognitive sciences that require expertise across laboratories and traditional disciplinary boundaries. Postdocs can also apply, with a faculty mentor as co-PI. We have further expanded this year’s seed grant solicitation to include COVID recovery. This addition in scope is intended to provide funds to recover or restart relevant projects that were interrupted due to COVID-19. Full details on the seed grant program, including applications (letter of intent and full seed app) and allowable costs, please check our website.

      Applications for small grants (less than $10,000) can be submitted at any time; applications in excess of $10,000 (but no more than $25,000) should be submitted by April 1st 

      Please submit letters of intent as soon as possible, but at least 2 weeks prior to the seed grant application deadline (by 3/18/22), to allow time for review and feedback. 

      The Institute also invites applications for affiliate memberships. 

      Any questions should be directed to the Institute Coordinator, Crystal Mills at crystal.mills@uconn.edu.

      COGS, IBACS & BIRC Colloquium: Dr. John Hale on 2/18

      Please join us virtually on 2/18 for John Hale’s talk co-sponsored by the Cognitive Science Program. IBACS, and BIRC. Registration in advance is required. Details are below: 

      Speaker: John Hale, Department of Linguistics, University of Georgia 

      Time: 4pm, Friday, February 18, 2022 

      Talk Title: Grammar, Incrementality and fMRI Timecourse 

      Abstract: What is the physical basis of human language comprehension? What sort of computation makes a stream of words come together, one after another, to yield a communicative or literary experience? This question sets up a scientific challenge for the brain and cognitive sciences. With functional neuroimaging, it is possible to extract a timecourse of brain activity from particular regions and ask how well alternative (psycho)linguistic theories account for the measured signal. This can be done over prolonged periods of time, for instance during the spoken recitation of a literary text. On the basis of such timecourses, this talk argues that our conceptualization of grammar should go beyond simple word-sequences and naive phrase structure. It presents an incremental parsing strategy that is more consistent with neuroimaging data than the simple ones presented in books like Hale (2014). The overall methodology can serve as a positive example of how brain data, syntactic theory and parsing algorithms may productively co-constrain one another.

       

      Bio: John Hale, the Arch Professor of World Languages and Cultures at the University of Georgia, is a professor in the Department of Linguistics at UGA. A computational linguist, he has made significant contributions to the theory of sentence processing over the past two decades and is the author of a valued textbook in the field (Automaton Theories of Human Sentence Comprehension, 2014). Strongly committed to cultivating the vital and also changing character of intellectual pursuit in current times, Professor Hale collaborates with DeepMind and has been active in promoting interaction between industry and academia as a way of getting to the bottom of questions about the nature of mind. 

      Zoom Registration Link: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEvfuyrqDItG92U2pqStUoZe77wc0hO4owu 

      Meeting opportunities: John will be available during the day of his talk (Feb 18) and also during part of the preceding day for individual or small-group meetings on Zoom. Please contact whitney.tabor@uconn.edu if you are interested in meeting with John. 

      Announcing the CogSci Study Abroad Travel Award Program

      The Cognitive Science Program’s mission is to prepare students to tackle global and multicultural challenges. A study abroad experience is vital to this preparation. Yet students majoring in Cognitive Science and related-STEM fields are generally less likely to participate in study abroad programs than other students.

      With this in mind, the Cognitive Science Program is excited to launch the Cognitive Science Study Abroad Travel Award Program. We will fund up to three, $2000 awards, to be used towards airfare costs associated with a UConn study abroad program.  Any travel costs in excess of the $2000 allotment would be responsibility of the recipient.

      These awards are available to UConn undergraduate students majoring or minoring in Cognitive Science who have been accepted into a study abroad program. Priority will be given to students attending the Interdisciplinary Ethnography Field Summer School in Mauritius or the Neuroscience Study Abroad Summer Program in Salamanca, Spain. (Courses taken through these two summer programs can be counted towards the Cognitive Science degree).

      This funding scheme operates with a rolling deadline. Once funds are exhausted, the application will close.

      Priority consideration will be given to students who (1) are members of a group that is underrepresented at the University of Connecticut; or (2) have overcome obstacles such as socioeconomic, educational, or other societal disadvantages (arising, for example, through prejudice and/or discrimination); or (3) have worked with such groups to help overcome these or other obstacles.

      The Cognitive Science program is willing to review other travel abroad scenarios on a case-by-case basis. Questions regarding the Cognitive Science Study Abroad Travel Award Program may be sent to the Cognitive Science Director, erika.skoe@uconn.edu.

      Please visit the Study Abroad Travel Award webpage for more information, including eligibility requirements and how to apply.