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​​​​CRADLE@NTU launches CRADLE Connects, supports funding generation for scientific research on higher education teaching and learning

Published on: 18-Feb-2016

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​                             Dr Peter Looker                                                          Assoc Prof Francis Bond

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                             Assoc Prof Christopher Khoo                                          Post-event workshop session


 

In support of generating funding resources for scientific research on higher education teaching and learning, the Centre for Research and Development in Learning (CRADLE@NTU) held the inaugural talk for CRADLE Connects this 16th February 2016 at the Hive Complex, Nanyang Technological University campus, Singapore. The talk convened 43 NTU faculty and research staff from over 20 school divisions to learn tips in acquiring competitive government funding for learning-centred research.

CRADLE Connects is a series of networking sessions designed to facilitate dialogues among academics and professionals across NTU on topics related to pedagogical innovation and the science of learning. The launch pad of this serial convention was fittingly aligned with one of CRADLE’s organisational objectives – which is to help create an environment for collaborative thinking in this research-intensive institution. 

Through the talk titled, “Tips and tricks for successful Tertiary Research Fund (TRF) application,” CRADLE brought the how to’s in writing research proposal grants to acquire funding of anywhere from SGD 40,000 to SGD 1 million for a two- to three-year research term from the Ministry of Education. The MOE TRF grants were first set up in April 2015 to promote scholarly innovation and applied research on Singapore’s teaching and learning practices at higher education levels. The grants are released annually on a competitive basis to Singapore’s institutes of higher learning with aims of making this Asia’s technology hub as one of the world’s premier cen​​tres for education excellence. 

Proposed research projects can take either one of the four forms: 1) ideation or proof of concept (to develop learning principles and theories into implementable models (e.g. curriculum development); 2) translation projects (to test proven ideas in new contexts); 3) scaling projects (to implement tested ideas in increasing number of sites); and 4) evaluation studies (to assess the effectiveness and outcomes of new and existing projects). 

NTU Head for Teaching, Learning and Pedagogical Division Dr Peter Looker shared pointers on how to write straightforward research proposals based on his reviews of previous grant proposals.

Two of the five 2015 MOE TRF Grant Awardees shared further pointers to supplement Dr Looker’s talk through sharing experiential information derived from their proposal writing process. Associate Professor Francis Bond of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences talked about preparing his project on technology-assisted language learning, while Associate Professor Christopher Khoo of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information shared about framing his proposal on linguistic content analysis of literature reviews​. The writing of research grant proposals entailed translating one’s knowledge domain into practical ideas that would result to sound policy making perspectives and ultimately, public benefit.

The talk was followed by a workshop led by CRADLE Research Scientist Jason Lee. Participants were grouped into six themes, which were aligned to their respective research interests spanning from learning sciences to hard sciences. CRADLE Researchers facilitated each group to help assess each participant’s research proposal based on originality of research aims, impact of research statement to Singapore’s current practice of teaching and learning, clarity of objectives and research questions, and definition and measurement of research outcomes.

CRADLE Deputy Director and Associate Professor Tan Seng Chee  said, “CRADLE supports academic research endeavours through this opening talk for CRADLE Connects. We intend to help NTU faculty and researchers to generate resources, whether funding or learning skills, for scholarly work on teaching and learning because we believe that research translates learning into tangible and practical everyday solutions.” 

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