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IES Awards $25 Million in Grant Funding to Establish Research and Development Centers on Rural Education and Secondary Writing
February 6, 2019


WASHINGTON, DC—The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has awarded approximately $25 million dollars to establish three national research and development centers. Two of these centers—at the University of Missouri and Harvard University—will focus on improving rural education. A third center will be based at the University of California, Irvine and will focus on secondary student writing.

These centers will provide us with valuable research into topics that are not always given the weight they deserve," states Mark Schneider, director of IES. "With IES support, these centers have the potential to make a difference for students across the United States."

Rural Research and Development Centers

The two rural centers will build the capacity of rural schools to use high-quality, scientific research to improve student outcomes. The National Center for Rural School Mental Health at the University of Missouri will refine, evaluate, and disseminate a comprehensive online data and training system to support student mental health needs. At Harvard University, the National Center on Rural Education Research Networks will establish a continuous improvement network to build the capacity of rural school districts and supporting state agencies to use their data to improve student education. Both centers will collaborate with school districts and researchers in multiple states.

"We are excited to see what these new centers will accomplish over the next five years," says Schneider. “Over 20 percent of U.S. students attend rural schools, and research on schools and education must reflect this fact."

Center for Secondary Student Writing

The WRITE (Writing Research to Improve Teaching and Evaluation) Center at UC Irvine will focus on improving the writing skills of high school students by identifying features of high-quality student writing and creating professional development for teachers. Grantees at the WRITE Center will work with a network of researchers and a school district in California.

About the Institute of Education Sciences: The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is the independent and non-partisan statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education. Their mission is to provide scientific evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and to share this information in formats that are useful and accessible to educators, parents, policymakers, researchers, and the public. Learn more at


Media Contact: Beth Greene, Communications Director, Institute of Education Sciences, 202-245-7546