Accelerating Progress in U.S. Education: Key Lessons from Other Federal R&D Investments in Technology and Innovation

Colleagues discussing work in an office

Leaders at the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (IES) seek to accelerate progress in education research and development (R&D) in a way that emphasizes innovation and technology, while building on 20 years of investments in foundational R&D. A key component of this vision involves the concept of establishing a new organization within the Department, referred to as the National Center for Advanced Development in Education (NCADE).

To help inform the vision for NCADE, this brief describes lessons learned from features of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and similar R&D focused agencies such as the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) in the Department of Energy.

Education policy experts Laura Hamilton and Orrin Murray analyze scholarly information and historical context about DARPA and ARPA-E and apply that learning to education research and its contexts, with the goal of informing the design and implementation of NCADE. They provide detailed implications for NCADE, which are intended to inform the work of IES and are based on an assessment of DARPA’s successes and challenges. The brief concludes with open questions that IES should consider as NCADE is designed and implemented.

Laura Hamilton Headshot
Senior Director, Education Measurement and Assessment
Orrin Headshot
Principal Researcher