UiS researchers join forces for the benefit of evidence-based policymaking and organizational change.
– Schools and childcare, organizations and businesses often implement new practices in a desire to increase motivation and learning. However, they often do not learn much about how effective these measures actually are. Also, the practices and policies they put in place, are often not built on what we know, from existing research, may be effective, says Professor Mari Rege at the UiS Business School.
Together with Professor Oddny Judith Solheim from the Norwegian Reading Centre, UiS, Rege heads the newly established Synapse Lab: A UiS research laboratory with the vision to develop and investigate research-based interventions to increase motivation and learning in education and work life.
A win-win connection
The social science scholars in Synapse Lab are internationally recognized for their research on motivation and learning, and have a particular interest in randomized experiments (RCTs).
– Although we come from different disciplines and work in different faculties across UiS, we share an interest in interventions that can increase motivation and learning. By establishing Synapse Lab, we will join forces in order to make each other and our research even better, Rege says.
She says that Synapse Lab’s goal is to create a win-win-connection between organizations and researchers.
– The collaborating organizations obtain free, professional support from researchers in developing new practices and policies. We as researchers obtain valuable access to the field, giving us the opportunity to conduct research at a high international level.
– A driving force
Rector Marit Boyesen says that Synapse Lab will be an important part of UiS strategic commitments and vision to be a driving force in knowledge development and societal change.
– Solving the challenges that society is facing today requires that researchers work together, across academic disciplines. I am convinced that the cross-disciplinarian focus of the Lab, and the collaborations with schools and organizations, will benefit the greater community, and that Synapse Lab will be a key player in further developing the quality of UiS research. The researchers affiliated with the Lab have an extensive network of researchers both in Norway and internationally. These kinds of initiatives play an important role in putting UiS on the map in an highly competitive environment.
A “gold standard” in research
The use of randomized experiments has become increasingly popular and prevalent in social science research. The US Department of Education has labeled randomized experiments as the “gold standard” in educational research, and the World Bank often requires developing countries to use randomization in determining the assignment and use of new policy.
Successful collaborations with practicioners
Synapse Lab researchers share a history of successful collaboration with the practice field in a number of high-quality RCTs.
UiS Synapse Lab develops and investigates interventions for promoting motivation and learning in education and work life. The fields of the most active researchers in the Lab are education, economics of education, labor economics, psychology and public health. In most of our research projects, we work across disciplines.