Education Policy Initiative wins funding for postdoctoral fellowships in education sciences

June 29, 2017

Scholars from the Ford School's Education Policy Initiative (EPI) and the University of Michigan's School of Education have received a $712,000 grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) to continue the University’s postdoctoral training program in experimental and quasi-experimental methods for education research for an additional five years. The funding is part of IES’s efforts to increase the supply of scientists and researchers who are well-prepared to conduct rigorous research that addresses the concerns of today’s education leaders and practitioners.

Former postdoctoral fellows include (left to right) Rachel Rosen, now a research associate with MDRC; Daniel Kreisman, now an assistant professor of economics at Georgia State University; and Steven Hemelt, now an assistant professor of public policy at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. EPI postdoctoral fellows

The grant will support four postdoctoral fellows for two years each. Under the management of principal investigator (PI) Brian Jacob and co-PIs Susan Dynarski and Christina Weiland, postdoctoral fellows will conduct applied, policy-relevant research using advanced techniques that allow for robust causal inference, including randomized controlled trials, regression discontinuity analysis, and more.

“Education needs scholars who can identify the questions that are important for improving policy and practice, who can apply scientifically-grounded research methodologies that yield reliable answers to these questions, and who can communicate the findings back to practitioners and policymakers so that they can act on them,” write the researchers.

The specific research projects the fellows explore will vary. For the Education Policy Initiative, future postdoctoral fellows may make use of state and district longitudinal data systems to address a broad range of questions about early learning programs and policies, the impact of educational technologies, effective teachers and teaching methods, the effect of education systems, the outcomes associated with postsecondary and adult education programs, and more. For the Youth Policy Lab, led by Brian Jacob and Robin Tepper Jacob, fellows may offer technical research assistance to a number of not-for-profit and government organizations that work to improve the lives of Michigan’s youth.

The researchers hope to recruit a diverse cohort of fellows with expertise in any of a range of disciplines, including economics, education, political science, psychology, public policy, sociology, and other disciplines. Fellows from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in scholarly research communities, and those from lesser-known institutions, will be encouraged to apply for the fellowship when applications open in the fall.

For more information, contact edpolicyford@umich.edu.