The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $8.2 million through its Science of Learning program to fund 24 new projects that will advance theoretical insights and fundamental knowledge of learning principles, processes, environments and constraints.

"NSF has shown long-standing leadership in the Science of Learning through past investments in the Science of Learning Centers and Science of Learning Collaborative Networks," said Fay Lomax Cook, assistant director for NSF's Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE). "These first awards from the Science of Learning program build on momentum in this field and demonstrate continued investment in projects that bridge disciplines toward a deeper understanding of societally important questions."

SBE developed the Science of Learning program to support the investigation of questions of great scope and complexity regarding how humans, other animals and machines learn. Such questions cross many scientific disciplines and scales from how cellular mechanisms and brain systems affect learning to the roles played by society and culture.

"Learning is essential to individual development, opportunity and achievement. It underpins our ability to address such challenges as educating the future workforce, increasing creativity and innovation, and developing the potential of human-technology interactions to improve productivity and opportunity," said Soo-Siang Lim, a Science of Learning program director.

The 2017 awards support research addressing learning across the lifespan in a wide range of domains, including memory, language and the development of scientific and inferential reasoning.

"The Science of Learning has become a robust field of research. The Science of Learning program establishes a home for this research here at NSF. With this home comes a predictable funding cycle to support innovative, integrative research proposals," said Howard Nusbaum, division director for SBE's Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences Division.

Some of the awards are co-funded by other programs in and outside of NSF.

The Science of Learning program contributes to NSF's investments in support of Understanding the Brain and the BRAIN Initiative, a coordinated research effort that seeks to enhance our understanding of the brain.