Strategic Education Research Partnership
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Bridging Research and Practice

Never has high quality education been of greater importance for individuals, families, businesses, and the economic strength and well-being of our nation.

And yet the primary engine of innovation and improvement relied on by other sectors—problem-solving research and development—is woefully underutilized in education. Recognizing this, the National Academies’ National Research Council convened three panels of the nation’s foremost scholars, business leaders, and educators between 1997 and 2003. The committees were asked to determine how a focused, scientifically-based program of research and development could generate a culture of innovation and continuous improvement in our nation’s schools. The outgrowth of their efforts was the creation of the independent Strategic Education Research Partnership (SERP).

SERP’s mission is to develop and support highly productive collaborations among forward thinking education practitioners and outstanding researchers, developers, and policy makers to solve the most intractable problems facing American education. SERP is accomplishing this goal by establishing a set of strategically-placed field sites—school districts that enter into long-term partnerships with SERP-recruited researchers to engage in joint problem-solving and continuous improvement rooted in scientific research and development. SERP work addresses urgent problems that the school districts identify, building on the existing work of the world’s best researchers and rigorously testing innovations in a variety of real school settings. The programs and practices emerging from the SERP sites promise to feed improvement in school districts throughout the nation. And the knowledge generated will equip teachers with the skills to give American students the quality education that they require for success in the 21st century.

The SERP model is the first to create an infrastructure for schools and universities to collaboratively tackle the problems of today as well as the challenges of tomorrow through scientific research and development in real-world settings. As we continue to build upon our early success, we are encouraged that so many have responded so enthusiastically to the call for partnership.



Bruce Alberts 
Chair, SERP Board of Directors 
President Emeritus, 
National Academy of Sciences 
Editor-in-Chief, Science Magazine


Suzanne Donovan
Executive Director,
SERP Institute