Science of Learning Initiative


The IBRO Science of Learning Initiative is the result IBRO’s efforts to establish a global partnership that recognizes neuroscience research as crucial to increasing our understanding of how the human brain learns and to informing education practitioners, policymakers and governments how this knowledge can help address urgent international concerns ranging from curriculum development and learning to migration and equitable development.

Identifying the ways in which the brain learns and how this influences human learning and behaviour in general has never been so relevant or necessary. Scientific research today has reached a point where discoveries can provide reliable findings with significant implications for education practitioners, policymakers and governments aiming to achieve effective and impactful teaching and learning systems.

Past efforts in this field include the U.S. National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Science of Learning Centers Program established in 2003, the OECD’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation “Brain and Learning” project launched in 1999 and the work of UNESCO’s International Bureau of Education (IBE-UNESCO), whose mission is to offer support and innovative solutions to ministries of education and governments wanting to improve the equity, quality and development-relevance of their education and learning systems. IBRO’s initiative recognizes the advancements already made by these organizations as well as others, and plans to continue the same level of commitment through partnership and collaboration, building on previous lessons learned and knowledge sharing.

To launch the initiative, IBRO and IBE-UNESCO, established a program that offers at least 3 joint IBRO/IBE-UNESCO Science of Learning Fellowships each year. The selected Fellows pursue research projects that help to translate key neuroscience research on learning and the brain to educators, policymakers and governments in order to address the global learning crisis. They are hosted annually at IBE-UNESCO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1 October – 31 December.

More about the IBRO/IBE-UNESCO Science of Learning Fellowships

Fellowship applications are considered from senior and mid-career scientists practicing in the field of neuroscience and focusing on the science of learning. IBRO and IBE–UNESCO consider researchers from all regions of the world.

The fellows are hosted at IBE–UNESCO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, so they can learn about policymaking in an international context, as well as receive support with policy vocabulary and messages. A separate contract with each fellow is signed by the fellow and IBE–UNESCO to cover the duration of their fellowship.

Watch interviews with the 2016 Fellows: Brain Research, Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century

Location: IBE-UNESCO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland

Length of stay: 1 October – 31 December 2017

Amount: 20,000 Euros per Fellow

IBRO and IBE–UNESCO cannot arrange accommodation, visas, insurance, travel or other related logistics. This will be the responsibility of the fellow to organize. Each fellow will be provided with his/her own office, including a computer, desk and internet access.

Application requirements:

– Eligibility: Senior/Mid-career scientists, practicing in the field of neuroscience and focusing on the science of learning (no postdocs or recent PhDs)

– Project proposal (1-2 pages)

– Two letters of reference

– Current CV

Application Deadline: Mid-February, Midnight CET