Skip Navigation
IES Conferences, Workshop/Training & Technical Assistance
Summer Research Training Institute: Getting SMART about Adaptive Interventions in Education


Objective: The National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) in the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education announces a Summer Research Training Institute on sequential multiple assignment randomized trials (SMARTs) used in the development and evaluation of adaptive interventions. The goal of this Institute is to increase the national capacity of education researchers to conduct novel and methodologically rigorous trials for developing and evaluating adaptive interventions.

Background: Interventions used in educational settings often require an individualized approach in which the intervention to be delivered is adapted and re-adapted over time in response to the evolving needs of the individual. Adaptive interventions provide one way to operationalize this approach. More specifically, an adaptive intervention is a sequence of decision rules that are designed to guide whether, how or when--and based on which measures--to individualize an intervention plan. Often, scientists have a wide variety of critical questions to answer when seeking to develop a high-quality adaptive intervention. Yet, there is often a lack of evidence or theory to guide the ideal way to answer these questions. The sequential multiple assignment randomized trial or SMART design was developed for building high-quality, empirically-based, adaptive interventions.

Training Institute Sponsor: NCSER is providing support for this Summer Training Institute.

When: June 14-16, 2017 (full-day on June 14–15, half-day on June 16)

Where/Location: This 2.5-day Training Institute will be held at the Department of Education in Washington, DC. Institute participants will be housed at a local hotel in Washington, DC.

Application Materials/Information: National Capitol Contracting or NCC is the NCSER Contractor coordinating this training. Please contact NCC at the following email address for application materials and information:

All applications must be received no later than May 1, Monday at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Course Content: This course will (a) provide education researchers with an introduction to adaptive interventions, (b) help education researchers gain the background needed to design and implement a SMART design, and (c) introduce education researchers to analytic methods for data arising from a SMART.

The Institute will focus primarily on aspects of trial design and secondarily on methods of data analysis.

Learning Objectives:

  • Knowledge and understanding of adaptive intervention designs, including the critical components of adaptive intervention designs, and the potential of adaptive interventions to improve educators' ability to meet the unique and changing needs of individuals
  • Knowledge and understanding of SMART study designs, including situations or conditions for which SMART designs are applicable, and data analytic strategies used to examine primary and secondary research questions using a SMART

Eligibility Requirements and Selection Criteria for Training Institute Fellows:

  • Applicants should have a graduate degree (e.g., PhD, EdD) and experience conducting educational intervention research relevant to education in the United States.
  • Preference will be given to applicants who (a) have demonstrated their ability to conduct intervention development and/or evaluation research, (b) have a familiarity with basic principles of experimental research design in the bio/behavioral or educational sciences, and (c) demonstrate that they have a need for the knowledge and skills addressed in the Training Institute. Applicants do not need to have prior experience in conducting research on adaptive interventions.
  • Each application will be evaluated on its own merits. If more than 25 meritorious applications are received, other criteria such as disciplinary, geographical, and institutional diversity will be taken into account.
  • Applicants must be citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States, or must have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence (i.e., possess a currently valid Alien Registration Receipt Card I-551, or other legal verification of such status).

Both junior and senior researchers who would benefit from the knowledge and skills addressed in this SMART Summer Training Institute are encouraged to apply.

Women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. If selected for participation in the Summer Training Institute, individuals who require reasonable accommodations for disabilities should contact NCC.

Costs and Stipends: NCC will pay the cost for attendees' tuition and course materials, and for travel and lodging (please wait for NCC to contact you before making any arrangements). Attendees will be responsible for food and beverage costs but will be reimbursed by NCC at the per diem rate after the institute has concluded.

Application Procedures: The Summer Training Institute will be offered June 14-16, 2017. Individuals interested in attending the Summer Training Institute should submit the following materials to NCC via email at

  • A copy of the applicant's curriculum vitae. The curriculum vitae (CV) must include information on the applicant's:
    • Title/position at the applicant’s current institution or organization
    • Academic/professional degree
    • Currently funded research grants and the sources of funding

  • A 2- to 3-page personal statement describing the applicant's:
    • Current or planned research intervention projects
    • Interest in learning more about adaptive interventions and SMART designs
    • Anticipated influence on applicant’s future research
    • Previous training in statistics and in experimental design

Requirement: The personal statement is limited to 3 single-spaced pages in 12-point font and both the statement and the CV must be attached as a MS Word document or as a PDF file. Application materials must be submitted to NCC via email at

All applications must be received via email no later than May 1, 2017, Monday at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Applicants will be notified by NCC no later than May 5, 2017 via electronic mail. Selected applicants will receive the Summer Training Institute schedule and information about travel and lodging.

Instructors and Guest Instructors:
Daniel Almirall, Ph.D., University of Michigan
Ahnalee Brincks, Ph.D., Michigan State University
Meredith Gunlicks-Stoessel, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Connie Kasari, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
William Pelham, Ph.D., Florida International University

Note: NCC will coordinate any and all activities and will communicate with potential applicants as well as selected participants. In addition, NCC is responsible for all training arrangements for travel, payments, and reimbursements according to applicable contractual and federal guidelines. Please contact them directly with any questions you may have.

Type: Workshop/Training & Technical Assistance
Location: Department of Education Building (to be determined)
Washington, DC
Dates: June 14-16, 2017
Organization: National Center for Special Education Research