The Foundation occasionally supplements its support for empirical research with targeted capacity-building grants that enhance the use and usefulness of research in policy and practice. Two new grants have been awarded for projects that are connecting researchers, practitioners, and policymakers.
We’re pleased to join the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation in supporting the National Education Research–Practice Partnerships Network (NERPP).
This new network will support existing and emerging research–practice partnerships in education by focusing on four objectives. The first objective is to share best partnership practices, with an emphasis on setting up research–practice partnerships (RPPs), producing more relevant research for districts, and improving the use of research evidence by districts. Partnership practices will be shared at annual meetings and through online tools such as the William T. Grant Foundation microsite and others developed by the network. The second objective is to synthesize and share research findings and research-informed practices obtained from individual RPPs across the network. Findings will be synthesized and distributed in an annual report and discussed at annual meetings of research and practice partners. The third objective is to produce comparative research across localities. Using the information gathered from different RPPs, NERPP staff will identify common research interests across partnerships and assist partnerships in developing collaborative research projects. Promising initial projects include research on school closures, chronic absenteeism, and improved outcomes for English language learners. The joint projects will maximize comparability across research sites, while preserving local research needs. The fourth and longer-term objective is to advance education policies and system reforms at regional and national levels. An oversight committee will ensure that districts and research institutions are equally represented in NERPP activities and that they have equal power in decision making.
This grant continues the Foundation’s support for the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Congressional Fellowship Program.
The program expands the pool of leaders who understand how research can contribute to the policy process. Researchers learn firsthand about the federal policy process and enhance their understanding of the different kinds of research that contribute to policy. SRCD Congressional Fellows are members of the Science and Technology Fellowship Programs of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Fellows participate in training sessions run by AAAS and SRCD and are then assigned to 12-month staff positions in either the Senate or House. Fellows are integrally involved in preparing for hearings, discussing legislative options with the staff in their Congressional or committee offices, developing legislation, and writing memos and speeches for their Senators or Representatives. They also learn about the factors that facilitate or impede the use of research and how to communicate effectively with non-researchers. Fellows are often early-career scholars who have doctoral degrees in psychology, human development, education, or a similar field. Many Fellows have become leaders in their fields and influence both production and use of research. The William T. Grant Foundation and the Foundation for Child Development first funded the SRCD Fellowship when it was initiated in 1978. Since that time, the Foundation has supported the placement of more than 70 Fellows.