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Funding Opportunities | Education Research Grant Programs

Program Announcement: Research Networks Focused on Critical Problems of Education Policy and Practice 84.305N

Program Officers:
Dr. Wai-Ying Chow (Science Teaching Network)
Telephone: (202) 245-8198

Dr. James Benson (College Completion Network)
Telephone: (202) 245-8333

In this announcement, the Institute of Education Sciences (Institute) requests applications to form Research Networks Focused on Critical Problems of Education Policy and Practice (Networks). The purpose of the Networks program is to focus resources and attention on education problems or issues that are high priority for the nation and to create both a structure and process for researchers who are working on these issues to share ideas, build new knowledge, and strengthen their research and dissemination capacity. The ultimate objectives of the Networks are to advance the field's understanding of a problem or issue beyond what an individual research project or team is able to do on its own and to assist policymakers and practitioners in using this information to strengthen education policies and programs and improve student education outcomes. For FY 2017, the Institute invites proposals on two topics: (1) Exploring Science Teaching in Elementary School Classrooms (Science Teaching Network) and (2) Scalable Strategies to Support College Completion (College Completion Network).

Each network will consist of several Research Teams that are working on a topic. Each Research Team will carry out a major research project of its own and will participate in collaborative activities with other Research Teams in the same network. More specifically, each Research Team will address one of the following:

  • In the Science Teaching Network, up to four Research Teams will investigate science teaching in early elementary school (first through third grade) to uncover the teaching actions that improve science and other education outcomes for students from low-income families and underrepresented groups. The ultimate objective of the Science Teaching Network is to develop more refined theoretical constructs of teaching and a better understanding of how science teaching affects student education outcomes; stronger measures of science teaching for use in research, practice improvement, and high-stakes decision making; and actionable guidance, training, and supports for educators and teacher educators (e.g., providers of pre-service training programs).

  • In the College Completion Network, up to three new Research Teams will join two Research Teams funded in FY 2016 to conduct evaluations of interventions identified as having promise for increasing the number of college students who earn degrees in open- and broad-access institutions, such as community colleges and four-year colleges and universities that accept 75 percent or more of their applicants. The ultimate goal of the College Completion Network is to provide reliable evidence on the impacts and costs of strategies that policymakers and college leaders may consider adopting or expanding in their states and institutions.

The Research Teams in each network will meet to discuss research plans and progress and to identify ways that they can strengthen their collective work by collaborating on data collection tools, common measures, a research synthesis, and other activities. The Institute will set aside additional funding that each network can use toward supplementary studies and joint dissemination activities that are useful to policymakers, practitioners, and other researchers.

For each network, the Institute will award up to one grant for a Network Lead that will coordinate network activities. Additionally, the Network Lead is expected to conduct research that complements the work of the Research Teams. Finally, the Network Lead is expected to play a lead role in communication of the network's findings, including hosting a website that describes the work of the network and makes the publications and products generated by the network available to the general public and organizing briefings for policymakers, practitioners, researchers, and others who have a stake in the research.