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James S. McDonnell Foundation Inaugurates New Program in Educational Research $24.5 Million Awarded for Studies of Teachers as Learners
[January 17, 2018]

James S. McDonnell Foundation Inaugurates New Program in Educational Research $24.5 Million Awarded for Studies of Teachers as Learners


The Officers and Directors of the James S. McDonnell Foundation today announced more than $34 million in grants in their ongoing program, the 21st Century Science Initiative.

Founded in 1950 by the late aerospace pioneer and founder of what would become the McDonnell Douglas Corporation, James S. McDonnell believed that science and technology gives mankind the power to shape knowledge for the future while improving our lives. "Mr. Mac's" vision continues to be realized through the research these grants are supporting. Since the inception of the program in 2000, more than $314 million in funding has been awarded.

In 2017, JSMF inaugurated the Understanding Teacher Change and Teachers as Learners in K-12 Classrooms program to fund education research on the science of teaching and expand our understanding of teachers as learners and key agents of change in education. The concern shared by parents, educators, and funding agencies is that despite the availability of numerous evidence-based practices for improving student learning we know very little about teacher learning and how to best incorporate new approaches into existing educational practices. "The Foundation is excited to launch this new program and we hope the research findings will fill an important gap in our present understanding of how advances in the science of learning can best be integrated into educational practices," said McDonnell Foundation President, Dr. Susan Fitzpatrick.

The 21st Century Science Initiative also announced new grants in the Foundation's programs. In Understanding Human Cognition, the Scholar Awards support young researchers identified by their peers and nominated by their institutions as likely to continue to make important theoretical or conceptual contributions that advance developmental science. Understanding Dynamic and Multi-scale Systems awards support networks of multi-disciplinary working groups to solve practical problems in complex, adaptive, nonlinear systems. Special Initiative awards support opportunistic research closely related to JSMF's programmatic interests.

The McDonnell Foundation's 2017 21st Century Science Initiative Awards are:

Understanding Teacher Change and Teachers as Learners

Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
Understanding How Elementary Teachers Take Up Discussion Practices to Promote Disciplinary Learning and Equity
Project Manager: Lynsey Gibbons, $2,500,000 over five years

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania



Project Manager: Amy Ogan, $2,499,984 over five years

Indiana University (News - Alert), Bloomington, Indiana
Teacher Cognition and Learning about Incorporating Science Representations in Elementary Classrooms
Project Manager: Joshua Danish, $2,499,999 over five years


Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
Developing a Model of Teacher Learning to Support Classroom Enactment of Purposeful Sensemaking
Project Manager: Brian Reiser, $2,497,997 over five years

University of California, Davis, Davis, California
New Teachers Learning Disciplined Improvisation for Meaningful Talk in Diverse Classrooms
Project Manager: Steven Athanases, $2,496,062 over five years

University of Illinois, Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
How Teachers Learn: Orchestrating Disciplinary Discourse in Science, Literature, and Mathematics Classrooms
Project Manager: Susan Goldman, $2,491,500 over five years

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Managing Students' Contributions to Mathematical Work in Whole Class Discussions in High School: How do Teachers Decide What to Do?
Project Manager: Patricio Herbst, $1,969,652 over five years

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Teachers Learning to Facilitate Communication and Reasoning Through Inquiry with History and Social Science Sources
Project Manager: Chauncey Monte-Sano, $2,500,000 over five years

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Teacher Learning to Enact Productive Discussions in Mathematics and Literacy
Project Manager: Mary Kay Stein, $2,499,651 over five years

University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
Advancing Teachers' Pedagogical Reasoning and Practices with Tools
Project Manager: Hala Ghousseini, $2,499,821 over five years

Understanding Human Cognition: Scholar Awards

Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, France
Early language acquisition: Beyond WEIRD
Principal Investigator: Alejandrina Cristia, $600,000 over six years

Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey
Event representation and relational language learning
Principal Investigator: Tilbe Göksun, $600,000 over six years

Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München, Munich, Germany
The emergence and early development of morality
Principal Investigator: Markus Paulus, $600,000 over six years

New York University, New York City, New York
Developing representations of the social world
Principal Investigator: Marjorie Rhodes, $600,000 over six years

Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Does Top-Down Processing Support Infant Development?
Principal Investigator: Lauren Emberson, $600,000 over six years

Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands
Integrating evolution, development, and learning in psychological science
Principal Investigator: Willem Frankenhuis, $600,000 over six years

Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Responding to Imminent Threat: A Developmental Approach
Principal Investigator: Vanessa LoBue, $600,000 over six years

University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
Understanding the emergence of speech vocalizations in human infancy
Principal Investigator: Anne Warlaumont, $600,000 over six years

University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
A coordination approach to early language learning
Principal Investigator: Daniel Yurovsky, $600,000 over six years

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
Using Automated Controlled Rearing to Explore the Origins of the Mind
Principal Investigator: Justin Wood, $600,000 over six years

Collaborative Activity Awards: Understanding Dynamic and Multi-scale Systems

Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Adaptation, Aging, and the Arrow of Time
Project Manager: David Krakauer, $2,500,000 over five years

University of California, Davis, Davis, California
Cortical plasticity within and across lifetimes
Project Manager: Leah Krubitzer, $1,670,356 over five years

Special Initiative Award

Center for Open Science, Charlottesville, Virginia
Evaluating Registered Reports
Project Manager: Brian Nosek, $165,591 over two years

Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
Support for the 2018 Latin American School for Education, Cognitive and Neural Sciences
Project Manager: Marcela Peña, $90,000 over one year


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