March 16, 2009 — A pioneering researcher who studies cognitive and emotional development and learning from birth through adulthood has been awarded the second annual prize for “Transforming Education through Neuroscience.” Announced on Feb. 21 at the 22nd meeting of the Learning & the Brain conference, a national interdisciplinary scientific and education conference in San Francisco, the $5,000 award will be used to further partnerships between educators and neuroscientists.”
The winner, is Kurt Fischer, a Harvard University professor and the director of the Harvard Graduate School of Education,’s Mind, Brain and Education program. He is founding president of the International, Mind, Brain and Education Society (“IMBES”) and founding editor of Mind, Brain and Education.
“There is no one more deserving of the Transforming Education through Neuroscience award than Kurt Fischer,” says Dr. Charles Nelson III, neuroscientist and professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. “He is without a doubt the leader in the emerging field of brain and education. Prof. Fischer is a beacon of light for those striving to meld the brain sciences with the field of education.”
Awarded at the 22nd meeting of the Learning & the Brain conference, a conference series that promotes the most innovative and distinguished thinking on the subject, the prize is awarded annually. The award was established by Learning & the Brain and IMBES to honor an individual who represents excellence in bridging neuroscience and education, that is, applying the findings of hard science, such as fMRIs, to the improvement of classroom teaching and learning. The award will also be presented at the bi-annual meeting of IMBES in Philadelphia at the end of May.
The award was presented by Dr. Kenneth Kosik, co-director of the Neuroscience Research Institute at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Dr. Kosik said, “More than a decade ago when we founded the Learning & the Brain conference, Kurt Fischer was already thinking about linking education and neuroscience. This award recognizes his steadfast vision that neuroscience research can enhance education in our schools.”
Dr. David Daniel, associate professor of psychology at James Madison University, who is on the board of directors of IMBES, also praised Dr. Fischer. “Kurt has worked tirelessly to cultivate an inclusive infrastructure essential to the success of the emerging field of Mind, Brain and Education.”
In addition to Dr. Fischer’s research, discussions at the February 2009 Learning & the Brain conference focused on the role of the social brain in learning. The conference organizer was Public Information Resources, Inc. (PIRI) in Needham, MA. The next Learning & the Brain conference is May 7-9, 2009, in Washington, DC and will focus on the creative brain.