The Science Education Drug Abuse Partnership Award (SEDAPA) provides four-year grants for research scientists to share their scientific knowledge and expertise through formal partnerships with the K-12 education community. The objective of these partnerships is to increase public understanding of the biology of drug abuse and addiction. Partnerships involve formal education professional development with science teachers, formal curricular enrichment with students, and informal education projects via public venues (such as Exploratorium, museum and other public arenas). The SEDAPA award is similar in structure and aims to the broader Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), which addresses principles of biological and physical sciences across a variety of themes (e.g., cancer, infectious disease, environmental science, etc.). The SEPA mechanism funds dozens of projects across the country. The SEDAPA program is much smaller, funding 13- 15 projects at any one time. SEPA has developed a highly important national meeting over the past decade to share evidence-based best practices in designing, managing and evaluating these K-12 science partnerships. The annual SEPA conference draws approximately 200 attendees and includes talks, poster sessions, panel discussions and networking meetings addressing evaluation, resource sharing, rigorous experimental design, publication development, dissemination, integration of technologies, addressing issues of research involving human subjects and animals, project management, and developing productive K-12-higher education partnerships. The objective of this application is to enable the 13 SEDAPA project directors to collaborate with SEPA conference planners to plan and participate in the first SEPA / SEDAPA Collaborative Conference in Bethesda, Maryland in May, 2012. SEDAPA project representatives will participate on the planning committee, develop SEDAPA-focused and joint SEDAPA-SEPA panel sessions and presentation topics, sponsor at least one plenary speaker, organize SEDAPA poster sessions, and identify and secure panelists. The agenda will include SEDAPA-focused topics for each break-out session. At least one plenary talk and several break-out sessions will be developed to focus on working with culturally diverse and bi-lingual students. The SEPA web site will be expanded to incorporate SEDAPA conference themes. Two scholarships will be made available to graduate students working on SEDAPA projects as graduate research assistants.
The Science Education Drug Abuse Partnership Award (SEDAPA) program meets recommendations advanced by the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research's Report on K-12 Education. These recommendations include pairing investigators with educators to build a public understanding of the significance and processes involved in biomedical research in the neurosciences, as well as deepening specific content area knowledge among K-12 educators and building their capacity to transfer knowledge in the science classroom. The proposed grant enables SEDAPA project directors to collaborate and participate in the only annual meeting that brings more than 200 project directors together to share evidence-based best practices in forming and implementing productive partnerships to improve science learning.