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Florida State University awarded $27.8 million federal educational research laboratory

REL Southeast Region

The REL Southeast region includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolna, and South Carolina.

The Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) recently won a five-year contract for the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) for the southeastern United States.

The REL program includes ten regional labs funded through the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education. The REL Southeast is led by Francis Eppes Professor of Education & FCRR Director Emeritus Dr. Barbara Foorman.

The REL Southeast has been housed at FSU since 2012. This new $27.8 million award ensures FSU will remain a national leader in educational research.

From the Institute of Education Sciences:

The Institute of Education Sciences has awarded 60-month contracts for nine Regional Educational Laboratories, which work in partnership with states and school districts to bridge research, policy, and practice in education.

The REL program is one of IES' largest investments in supporting the use of scientific evidence in education. RELs conduct applied research to address regional needs; summarize and widely disseminate findings from high-quality research through in-person and virtual events and a wide range of media; and provide training, coaching, and technical support for applying research to education improvement.

Partnerships between researchers and practitioners are a key feature of the new REL contracts, continuing a signature approach of the program over the past five years. The 2012-2017 RELs supported more than 80 research partnerships across the country.

"The REL program creates opportunities for researchers and practitioners to interact in constructive and mutually beneficial ways," said Ruth Curran Neild, IES' past Delegated Director. "When the insights and expertise of research and practice come together, the result is high quality research that is useful and used both regionally and nationally. We also see real creativity in developing engaging tools and learning opportunities. At IES, we look to the RELs as laboratories of innovation for knowledge utilization in education."

Each REL is advised by a Governing Board, which is comprised of a Chief State School Officer (or designee) from each state in the region as well as other stakeholders. Governing Boards help the RELs assess regional needs and set priorities. In addition, as contractors to IES, the RELs are held to high standards for scientific quality, objectivity, and non-partisanship, as required by the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002.

The Florida Center for Reading Research is a multidisciplinary research center at Florida State University that explores all aspects of reading research — basic research into literacy-related skills for typically developing readers and those who struggle, studies of effective prevention and intervention, and psychometric work on formative assessment. For more information, please contact Nathan Archer at narcher@fcrr.org.