The successful translation of research into real-world applications is integral to the work done at the TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health.
Throughout the course of the 2019-2020 academic year, we led a special initiative designed to do just that. In partnership with the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics at the University of Chicago, the TMW Center conceptualized and executed the first Griffin Applied Economics Incubator. Under our joint stewardship, the inaugural year of the Incubator was dedicated to advancing research and understanding around the effective scaling of early interventions.
The video below illustrates why it is crucial for those of us in early childhood to both tackle the challenges and harness the power of scaling.
Over the course of the year, the TMW Center planned and executed Incubator activities that generated momentum around the notion that understanding how to scale promising interventions is the next frontier in the evidence-based policymaking process—a critical missing link that stands to enhance the efficacy of research, practice, and policy in early childhood education and development. Those activities included: awarding grants to support innovative research projects; hosting world-renowned scholars as Incubator visitors; holding formal convenings and informal networking/mentoring sessions where scholars exchanged ideas and discussed how to incorporate the science of scaling in their work; curating an edited volume and special issue of a leading academic journal; publishing columns, op-eds, and interviews in order to advance the idea that all stakeholders have a role to play in designing, championing, and implementing scalable early childhood programs; and much more.
Moving forward, the TMW Center will continue many of the activities and relationships that originated as part of the Incubator. Notably, we will be publishing an edited volume, The Scale-Up Effect in Early Childhood And Public Policy: Why Interventions Lose Impact At Scale and What We Can Do About It (Routledge), and hosting a two-day convening of researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and advocates in June 2021.
It is our hope that these efforts, coupled with those of so many others, yield compelling support for scalable policies that positively impact the future health and well-being of our children.