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Building and Sustaining Research-Practice Partnerships
This project is building a community of STEM researchers, district and school leaders, formal and informal educators, and community coalitions engaged in building and sustaining research-practice partnerships to improve STEM education. Research-practice partnerships are long-term collaborations between practitioners and researchers that are organized to investigate problems of practice and solutions for improving the outcomes of educational systems. In STEM education, Math and Science Partnership projects funded by the National Science Foundation are examples of design partnerships that bring together subject matter experts in higher education, mathematics and science education researchers, and school districts. Other examples can be found among partnerships in which a network of formal and informal education organizations are linked together and with researchers to organize more robust and equitable learning ecologies for youth.

The specific objectives for this project are to: (1) Build knowledge and skill of a network of doctoral and early career researchers who can form and maintain long-term partnerships with districts, informal education organizations, and community coalitions focused on STEM improvement; (2) Create a network of mature research-practice partnerships focused on next generation mathematics and science learning and equity that produces resources and knowledge to benefit new partnerships; and (3) Develop knowledge about effective partnership strategies and about how best to support a network of scholars focused on partnership work and a network of research-practice partnerships. A basic premise for this work is that STEM improvement at scale requires new opportunities and infrastructures for fostering ongoing exchange between research and practice.

The key products of this endeavor are:
- A set of web-accessible resources (including research reports, practical tools and brief video clips) co-developed by practitioners and researchers related to forming and maintaining partnerships, developing and using implementation and outcome evidence to guide design in partnerships, sustaining partnerships in the face of change, and strategies for promoting equity, inclusion, and leveraging diversity in partnerships.
- A set of guidelines, grounded in the experiences of network participants, for the preparation of researchers to engage in partnership work.
- A white paper for publication that presents case studies of partnership work, linked to the web-based resources, and that draws on activities and accomplishments of the research-practice partnership.
- An evaluation report that pays particular attention to longitudinal outcomes for doctoral students and early career researchers.

Project Contributions

Research-Practice Partnerships in Education: Outcomes, Dynamics, and Open Questions
"Policymakers, funders, and researchers today view research-practice partnerships (RPPs) as a promising approach for expanding the role of research in improving educational practice. Although studies in other fields provide evidence…
Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships as a Strategy for Scaled Educational Improvement
There is a new vision to guide K-12 science education. The NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education and the resulting Next Generation Science Standards asks educators to engage students in…