Skip Navigation

Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training Programs in the Education Sciences


- OR -


- OR -


- OR -

FY Awards

- OR -


Dr. Katina Stapleton
(202) 2456181


The Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training Program in the Education Sciences (Predoctoral Training Program) was established by IES to increase the number of well-trained PhD students who are prepared to conduct rigorous and relevant education research.

Predoctoral Training Program grants are awarded to institutions of higher education that create cohesive graduate training programs in which fellows receive training in conducting education research while earning their doctorates within a traditional academic discipline. Fellows are trained to develop education interventions (e.g., curricula, professional development) that are grounded in a science of learning; to evaluate education programs, practices, and policies using rigorous and well-implemented experimental and quasi-experimental designs; and/or to employ sophisticated statistical methods to examine large state and local datasets to identify potential solutions to education problems.

While the formats and foci of IES-funded predoctoral training programs vary, required common elements include:

  • 2 to 5 years of financial support for fellows (stipends, tuition, health insurance, normal fees, and research/travel funds),
  • a coordinated curriculum,
  • an ongoing lecture series or proseminar,
  • opportunities for fellows to conduct research and to collaborate with education practitioners and researchers, and
  • an Education Sciences certificate that signifies that fellows have completed the training program's requirements.

Between 2004 and 2020, IES established interdisciplinary predoctoral training programs at 21 universities for a total investment of almost $209 million in predoctoral training.

Grounding education policy and practice in the United States on evidence requires transformation of both the research and practice fields. Practitioners have to turn routinely to education research when making important decisions, and education researchers have to produce research that is relevant to those decisions. To achieve this ambitious agenda, there is a need for a cadre of well-trained scientists capable of conducting high quality research that is relevant to practitioners and policy makers.

In 2004, IES created the predoctoral training program to address this need. Between 2004 and 2020, IES has held seven competitions and made 47 training grant awards. Twenty-one of the awards were to establish new training programs and the other 26 were to continue existing programs. The longest running programs (with 4 awards) are located at Northwestern University, University of Virginia, University of Chicago, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Since 2004, over 1000 fellows have received training through an IES-funded predoctoral training program. In June 2022, to document the background and rationale for these training programs and help articulate the theoretical models for each of the programs, including assumptions, inputs, activities, and outputs. WestEd will work with IES to identify metrics and potential data sources to better understand the successes and impacts of the current and possible future programs.

Outstanding Predoctoral Fellows
Each year, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) recognizes an outstanding fellow from its Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training Programs in the Education Sciences for academic accomplishments and contributions to education research. Here are the awardees:

IES Outstanding Predoctoral Award Winners
Award Year    Winner   Predoctoral Training Program
2008 Shayne Piasta Florida State University
2009 Anita McGinty University of Virginia
2010 Vivian Wong (ORCID) Northwestern University
2011 David Purpura Florida State University
2012 Elizabeth Gunderson (ORCID) University of Chicago
2013 Gerardo Ramirez University of Chicago
2014 Nathan VanHoudnos Carnegie Mellon University
2015 Meghan McCormick and Eric Taylor New York University
and Stanford University
2016 Rachel Baker Stanford University
2017 Rachel Abenavoli
and Callie Little (ORCID)
Pennsylvania State
and Florida State University
2018 Dominic Gibson (ORCID) University of Chicago
2019 Sade Bonilla (ORCID) Stanford University
2020 Kenneth Holstein (ORCID) Carnegie Mellon University
2021 Marissa Thompson (ORCID) Stanford University

Applying to an IES Predoctoral Training Program
Students interested in becoming predoctoral training fellows must apply for admission to a training program, not to IES. Each training program has its own admission process and selection criteria. Potential fellows can receive information about applying for a fellowship by contacting the training program directly. Not all programs are accepting applications at this time.