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NERD Undertakes Cataloging of 10,000 Ed Researchers

A school of education and the tech accelerator it launched in 2015 are working together to create a database of education researchers. The National Education Researcher Database, or NERD, as it's known, is a joint project undertaken by the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education and Jefferson Education Accelerator. The goal: to spark collaboration among those researchers, school people and education technology entrepreneurs.

The first step in the project is to create a catalog containing information about every education researcher in the country. That data will be made freely available and searchable on the NERD site. The founders of the effort expect the catalog eventually to contain 10,000 researcher profiles. Users will be able to "follow" their favorite researchers and receive alerts when their accomplishments and availability are updated.

"The $10 billion ed tech market is rife with shiny products that promise to transform teaching and learning. But educators have precious little data to understand which products are most likely to work in various environments," said Curry School Dean, Bob Pianta, in a prepared statement. "The market is clamoring for better evidence, but the research community feels like a black box to entrepreneurs and investors. Who are the rock stars of education research? What sort of expertise can they bring to bear on the design and implementation of new products?"

"By helping education companies find researchers early and engage them as partners, advisors and evaluators, we expect that companies will build better products that are based more on learning science," added Bart Epstein, founding CEO of the accelerator.

The creation of the database is being supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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