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Partnering in Education Research Program Accepting Applications

First- and second-year doctoral candidates from Harvard interested in quantitative education research should apply by April 5.

The Partnering in Education Research (PIER) program is now accepting fellowship applications from first- and second-year doctoral candidates at Harvard University interested in conducting quantitative education research in partnership with school districts and state education agencies.

PIER, an interdisciplinary predoctoral program hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and the Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) at Harvard University, is funded by a $4 million, five-year grant from the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education. This unique fellowship is open to doctoral candidates from HGSE, Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), and the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) in their first or second year of graduate study.  The program plan to admit 8–10 students per year beginning their second or third year of study this fall.

“All doctoral candidates studying issues related to education — whether taking a lens that draws heavily on economics, sociology, or political science, for example — would benefit from training that focuses on conducting education research in partnership with districts and agencies,” said HGSE Professor Nonie Lesaux, who is a member of the PIER Governing Committee. “Irrespective of the career path and research strategy ultimately taken, training on how to conduct research that is partnership-based and  benefits field-facing organizations with respect to question formulation, working with large, internal datasets, and brokering the findings for action are crucial skills for the next generation of researchers focused on issues of education.”

PIER aims to offer fellows a holistic experience where researchers are provided with skills to collaborate effectively with education agencies in defining research questions, executing projects, and communicating results.

HGSE Dean James Ryan called PIER a “remarkable opportunity” for students that draws on the “the unparalleled intellectual resources of the entire university.”

As part of the program, fellows will complete coursework in quantitative methodology, experimental research design, and education policy. Fellows will also participate in ongoing research apprenticeships with Harvard faculty mentors across the university, an ongoing interdisciplinary seminar on education research, and a public, bi-weekly speaker series.

Another unique aspect of the program is that fellows will undertake a 10-week internship with an education agency focusing on helping the agency with their own internal research work. Fellows will also participate in yearly conferences with partner agencies designed to construct new research projects to answer critical questions of education system leaders.

HGSE Professor Thomas Kane, faculty director for CEPR, stressed how social science research in education has changed, adding the need for graduate students to develop personal relationships and trust to gain access to data inside school districts and state agencies. Kane added that PIER provides young researchers with the necessary connections and access to conduct “high-quality research while helping schools to improve children’s lives.”

Those eligible are encouraged to apply by Tuesday, April 5.


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