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New Regional Educational Laboratories to Work with States, School Districts
December 23, 2016

New Regional Educational Laboratories to Work with States, School Districts

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has awarded 60-month contracts for nine Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs), which work in partnership with states and school districts to bridge research, policy, and practice in education.

The REL program is one of IES' largest investments in supporting the use of scientific evidence in education. RELs conduct applied research to address regional needs; summarize and widely disseminate findings from high-quality research through in-person and virtual events and a wide range of media; and provide training, coaching, and technical support for applying research to education improvement.

Partnerships between researchers and practitioners are a key feature of the new REL contracts, continuing a signature approach of the program over the past five years. The 2012-2017 RELs supported more than 80 research partnerships across the country.

"The REL program creates opportunities for researchers and practitioners to interact in constructive and mutually beneficial ways," said Ruth Curran Neild, IES' Delegated Director. "When the insights and expertise of research and practice come together, the result is high quality research that is useful and used both regionally and nationally. We also see real creativity in developing engaging tools and learning opportunities. At IES, we look to the RELs as laboratories of innovation for knowledge utilization in education."

Each REL is advised by a Governing Board, which is comprised of a Chief State School Officer (or designee) from each state in the region as well as other stakeholders. Governing Boards help the RELs assess regional needs and set priorities. In addition, as contractors to IES, the RELs are held to high standards for scientific quality, objectivity, and non-partisanship, as required by the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002.

The new contractors and (REL directors) are:

The nine new REL contracts will begin on January 3, 2017. The competition for the REL Southwest region is planned for spring/summer 2017.

Learn more about the REL program on the IES website.

See an example of how RELs respond to the needs of the field.

Read the REL Program solicitation, supporting information, and award notification on the FedBizOpps website.

Media Contact: Dana Tofig, Communications Director, Institute of Education Sciences, 202-245-8235,