The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $8.2 million through its Science of Learning program to fund 24 new projects that will advance theoretical insights and fundamental knowledge of learning principles, processes, environments and constraints.
"NSF has shown long-standing leadership in the Science of Learning through past investments in the Science of Learning Centers and Science of Learning Collaborative Networks," said Fay Lomax Cook, assistant director for NSF's Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE). "These first awards from the Science of Learning program build on momentum in this field and demonstrate continued investment in projects that bridge disciplines toward a deeper understanding of societally important questions."
SBE developed the Science of Learning program to support the investigation of questions of great scope and complexity regarding how humans, other animals and machines learn. Such questions cross many scientific disciplines and scales from how cellular mechanisms and brain systems affect learning to the roles played by society and culture.
"Learning is essential to individual development, opportunity and achievement. It underpins our ability to address such challenges as educating the future workforce, increasing creativity and innovation, and developing the potential of human-technology interactions to improve productivity and opportunity," said Soo-Siang Lim, a Science of Learning program director.
The 2017 awards support research addressing learning across the lifespan in a wide range of domains, including memory, language and the development of scientific and inferential reasoning.
"The Science of Learning has become a robust field of research. The Science of Learning program establishes a home for this research here at NSF. With this home comes a predictable funding cycle to support innovative, integrative research proposals," said Howard Nusbaum, division director for SBE's Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences Division.
Some of the awards are co-funded by other programs in and outside of NSF.
The Science of Learning program contributes to NSF's investments in support of Understanding the Brain and the BRAIN Initiative, a coordinated research effort that seeks to enhance our understanding of the brain.
2017 Science of Learning program awards
Enhancing Cognitive Training with Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation, John Jonides, University of Michigan
Understanding Learning Mechanisms and Language Acquisition through Intergenerational Conversations in Southwestern Ojibwe, a Native American language, Mary Hermes, Grassroots Indigenous Multimedia
Collaborative Research: Encoding and learning of internal models by the Purkinje cells of the cerebellum, Reza Shadmehr, Johns Hopkins University and Robijanto Soetedjo, University of Washington
CRCNS US-German-Israeli Research Proposal: Multi-Level Neuro-Computational Models of Basal Ganglia Dysfunction in Tourette Syndrome, Jonathan Rubin, University of Pittsburgh
CRCNS Research Proposal: US-German Collaboration: Influencing Brain Rhythms for Boosting Memory Consolidation, Maksim Bazhenov, University of California, San Diego
RAPID: Language Emergence from Inception, Rachel Mayberry, University of California, San Diego
Improving Vocabulary Learning through Working Memory Training: Examination of Causal Effects and Learning Trajectories, Young-Suk Grace Kim, University of California, Irvine
Developmental Changes in Reasoning about Biological Kinds, Marjorie Rhodes, New York University
The Development of Relational Processing in Infancy, Susan Hespos, Northwestern University
Collaborative Research: Learning Visuospatial Reasoning Skills from Experience, Maithilee Kunda, Vanderbilt University; Linda Smith, Indiana University
The Effect of Pictures in Books for Beginning Readers: Attention Allocation, Reading Fluency, and Reading Comprehension in K-2 Students, Anna Fisher, Carnegie Mellon University
The Development of Structural Thinking about Social Categories, Tania Lombrozo, University of California, Berkeley
The Development of Teaching and Social Learning Across Cultures, Cristine Legare, University of Texas at Austin
Interactions between speech perception and production during second language learning, Melissa Baese-Berk, University of Oregon
Cognitive Control Theoretic Mechanisms of Real-time fMRI-Guided Neuromodulation, Keith Bush, University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Campus
Workshop on North American Indigenous Learning, Mary Linn, Smithsonian Institution
Integrating Different Perspectives on Social Learning, Mirta Galesic, Santa Fe Institute
Collaborative Research: Shaping the Future of Science through the Science of Learning, Thomas Shipley, Temple University; Leanne Chukoskie, University of California, San Diego
EAGER: Societies as learning communities: building the foundations for an empirical approach to the formation of collective memories, Alin Coman, Princeton University
Workshop: Mobilizing a Global Science of Learning to Address Future Challenges, Andrea Chiba, University of California, San Diego
EAGER: Identifying network dynamics promoting memory consolidation during sleep, Victoria Booth, University of Michigan Ann Arbor