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Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training Programs in the Education Sciences


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FY Awards

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Virginia Education Science Training (VEST) program

Year: 2014
Name of Institution:
University of Virginia
Goal: Training
Principal Investigator:
Pianta, Robert C.
Award Amount: $3,931,552
Award Period: 5 years (9/1/2014-8/31/2019)
Award Number: R305B140026


The Virginia Education Science Training (VEST) program, originally funded by IES in 2004, is designed to provide doctoral students with advanced training in conducting scientifically rigorous and policy-relevant education research that can improve outcomes for PK-12 students and state-of the art quantitative methods. Fellows will be recruited from the Curry School of Education Ph.D. programs in Applied Developmental Science and Education Policy and from the University’s Economics, Psychology and Sociology departments.

Over the course of the five-year grant, the University of Virginia (UVA) will offer approximately 24 fellows from participating departments two- or four-year fellowships. Annually, these fellowships include tuition and benefits, a $30,000 stipend, and a small research/conference travel fund. There will be five cohorts of fellows, two of which will receive one to two years of University-sponsored VEST fellowships after the IES grant concludes.

VEST provides doctoral students with theory and content in three topic areas: the effectiveness of teachers and teaching in K-12 settings, early childhood education, and the social and behavioral contexts for academic learning. PhD students in the training program will participate in an interdisciplinary core curriculum consisting of graduate coursework in these topics, theories of human behavior, and research design and statistics, as well as an Education Sciences Seminar. Each semester, fellows will also participate in research apprenticeships where the students engage with mentors (and a research team) on projects and apply subject matter and research skills to important, applied research questions in the education sciences. All fellows will also have the opportunity to participate in a 2-3 month practice-based research experience within the District of Columbia Public Schools, Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia Department of Education, or Maryland State Department of Education.

The total projected costs of the training program are $5,249,794. In addition to the $3,931,552 grant from the Institute of Education Sciences, the University of Virginia will be contributing $892,641 during the award period to cost-share fellowships and will provide an additional $425,601 to complete the training of two cohorts of VEST fellows after this grant concludes.

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Related IES Projects: The University of Virginia has received two previous awards to implement the VEST program. More information about the 2004 and the 2009 awards is available online.

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