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New Grant from the National Science Foundation

Natalie Parde is the Principal Investigator of this $1,171,723 grant, working closely with Co-PIs Mary Khetani (UIC Occupational Therapy) and Jodi Dooling-Litfin (Rocky Mountain Human Services). The grant was funded by the National Science Foundation’s Smart and Connected Communities program, which aims to drive new innovations towards use-inspired research working closely with community stakeholders. Specifically this grant, SCC-IRG Track 2: Smart and Connected Family Engagement for Equitable Early Intervention Service Design, works towards developing novel NLP techniques to support caregivers of children with rehabilitation needs.

Planned and in-progress components of this work include a smart solution for matching unstructured caregiver strategies given specific use context and needs, and an intelligent dialogue agent that guides and scaffolds caregivers’ progress through a validated, participation-focused care-planning tool. Funded work will run from October 2021 through September 2024. This grant is closely aligned with the NLP Lab’s broader agenda of pursuing NLP with a purpose, with the grant's central goal being the study, development, and evaluation of novel language processing methods designed to support a real-world human challenge.