The Jacobs Foundation has awarded a five-year, nearly $11 million grant to the University of California, Irvine for the creation of a collaborative network to help tailor digital technologies for children. Connecting the EdTech Research EcoSystem (CERES) will bring together global leaders in computer science, psychology, neuroscience, education and educational technology in pursuit of this goal.
“Now more than ever, we need to marshal the brightest minds and best science to support children who are growing up in an increasingly digital and unequal age,” said Candice Odgers, UCI professor of psychological science, who will head CERES along with Gillian Hayes, UCI vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate Division. “We are grateful for the Jacobs Foundation’s many investments in improving the lives of children and for the opportunity to direct this initiative here at UCI.”
It will be further strengthened through partnerships with Carnegie Mellon University; the University of California, Berkeley; Germany’s Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education; the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences; the University of Cambridge; the University of Washington; and Canada’s Western University.
Professor Candice Odgers, who Co-leads CERES at the University of California, Irvine with Vice Provost Gillian Hayes, noted that “Dr. Orben is a leader in open and reproducible science and we are thrilled to have her join CERES to spearhead our initiatives in this space. As one of the most respected scientists working on how social media influences adolescents’ well-being she will also bring deep expertise to our network.”
Amy Orben, MRC CBU, said: “I am delighted to be part of the CERES network strengthening international and industry ties in the ever-growing digital mental health space. The generous initial funding to my research group will allow us to continue our work examining adolescent mental health and digital technology use across samples in the Global North and Global South. It will further support our continued development of educational courses and resources for graduate students interested in conducting open and reproducible science. Lastly, it will allow us to recruit new group members, who will help develop methodologies and collaborations to access and analyse better digital technology use data, as well as understand cognitive vulnerabilities that might predispose certain children to negative impacts of digital technology use. I am proud to hold this grant at the MRC CBU, one of the UK’s foremost departments focusing on mental health and cognition, which champions open science and research quality.”
The CERES press release can be read here: https://news.uci.edu/2021/09/07/jacobs-foundation-awards-uci-11-million-to-improve-digital-technologies-for-children/