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Synapse Lab researchers receive double research funding

Synapse Lab researchers have received funding for two projects as part of the Norwegian Research Council’s grant for addressing problems in society and business.

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Life mastery in kindergartners is one of the areas where UiS researchers are making a contribution

The research project SELMA: Social and Emotional Learning and Life Mastery in Early Childhood Education and Care aims to develop and evaluate a social and emotional learning and life skills-intervention for kindergarten teachers and children. SELMA is a collaboration between the Kanvas kindergarten group, Sandnes municipality, UiS Business School and UiS’s Centre for Learning Environment.

The project has been awarded NOK 20 million by the Norwegian Research Council.

– This is fantastic news to receive just before Christmas, said Professor Ingunn Størksen, who is project manager for SELMA in collaboration with Professor Mari Rege, UiS Business School.

– The topic of life mastery is highly relevant for kindergartens, and it has also become an urgent issue during the pandemic. As humans, we need to be able to cope during difficult situations, and children can become resilient through guided play with teachers and peers. Preschool teachers and staff need to explore this topic further, Størksen said. She added that she is particularly grateful to collaborate with Sandnes municipality and the Kanvas kindergarten group.

Increased motivation for learning activities

The Centre for Learning Environment also received funding for INTERACT, a project aiming to increase commitment and motivation for learning activities among students in upper secondary education. The long-term goal is to contribute to reduced drop-out rates. INTERACT has been granted NOK 20 million and is hosted by Professor Sigrun K. Ertesvåg and Associate Professor Grete S. Vaaland. INTERACT is a collaboration between UiS researchers, Møre og Romsdal County Council and Rogaland County Council.

Demanding, yet meaningful collaborations

– High-quality collaborative projects of this scale are demanding, yet highly meaningful, as they are clearly aimed at supporting kindergartens and schools to have a research-based approach to their everyday activities, director Dag Jostein Nordaker at the Centre for Learning Environment said.  

He points out that collaborations between UiS research units and partners are invaluable in the process of developing successful research projects.

– Receiving these grants is the result of purposeful, systematic, and long-term efforts, both at the Centre of Learning Environment, across the Faculty for Humanities and Education, and across the entire University of Stavanger. Both projects also require successful collaboration with practitioners in kindergartens and school. This is an area in which we have gained substantial experience, and we are happy to have built both these projects on existing collaborations, he said.

Synapse Lab

Synapse Lab develops and investigates interventions for promoting motivation and learning in education and work life.

Our researchers are motivated by the need for evidence based policy making and organizational change. We work in close collaboration with educators, businesses and organizations.

We utilize rigorous experimental methodology combined with registry data, and connect researchers from different disciplines. As a result, we create mutually beneficial collaborations between researchers and educators, businesses and organizations.

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