U.S. Department of Education Announces Inaugural Education Innovation and Research Competition

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The U.S. Department of Education announced today the launch of the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant competition for 2017. EIR is a new grant program established in the Every Student Succeeds Act and is the successor of the Obama Administration’s Investing in Innovation grant program (i3), which invested $1.4 billion in 172 i3 projects across all 50 states.

Like its predecessor, EIR supports state and local efforts to develop, implement and take to scale innovative and evidence-based projects. About 25 percent of EIR grant funds will support rural areas. EIR was sponsored in the Senate by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Michael Bennet (D-CO).

“In public education, as in other sectors, innovation drives change. The Department is excited to support local innovations from states, districts, education non-profits and their partners in communities across the country. Helping effective practices to reach more students will enable students to thrive,” said Nadya Chinoy Dabby, Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement.

EIR differs from i3 in a few ways: states, in addition to districts, will now be eligible to receive grants, and states and districts may also collaborate with a wider range of organizations on their EIR projects.

EIR will award grants for new and ongoing projects:

  • Early-phase grants are focused on launching, iterating and refining innovative new practices that have the potential for future scaling; and,
  • Mid- and Expansion-phase grants require increasingly rigorous levels of evidence in order to justify further replication and scaling of the practice.

While all EIR grantees are expected to focus on underserved students, the grant competition encourages a wide variety of projects that address persistent educational challenges, such as supporting principal training efforts, improving school climate, and preparing students for college and careers.

In addition to the new competition, the Department also announced today that all 2016 i3 highest rated applicants have secured the required matching funding for their projects and will receive their federal grants. More information on the i3 competition is available here.

Applications for EIR grants are due April 13, 2017. All applications will be evaluated by peer reviewers, and the Department will announce its inaugural cohort of EIR grantees in fall 2017, pending Congressional appropriations for the program. President Obama included a request for $180 million for EIR in his 2017 budget.