Science of Learning: Lessons Learned about Interdisciplinary Team Science


28 January 2015, Wednesday

12:45 pm – 2:00 pm

RMS 206, 2/F., Runme Shaw Bldg., HKU

Dr. LIM, Soo-Siang,
Lead Program Director and Chair of the Coordinating Committee for the Science of Learning Centers (SLC) Program at the US National Science Foundation

This brown bag seminar is NOT open to the public, but for members of the University, particularly those interested in Science of Learning research. It is one of Winter Institute 2015 activities.


Recognizing that solutions to complex, real- world problems about learning will not come from any one discipline alone, the NSF established the Science of Learning Centers (SLC) Program to promote interdisciplinary research on learning. This talk will describe opportunities and challenges (with insights from cognitive and organizational sciences) presented by large, multi-disciplinary, and multi-institutional research efforts, and the strategies the US National Science Foundation has implemented in its review and management of interdisciplinary centers. Lessons learned from facilitating interdisciplinary teamwork and knowledge integration will be discussed, in context of individual centers as well as a network of centers.

About the speaker

Soo-Siang Lim, Ph.D is the Lead Program Director and Chair of the Coordinating Committee for the Science of Learning Centers (SLC) Program at the US National Science Foundation (NSF). She has led this Program since 2004, when the first SLCs were established to provide intellectual, organizational and physical infrastructure for addressing large-scale, complex problems about learning in humans, other animals and machines. Related to these interests, she was a member of a NSF Task Force for Innovation in Learning and Education, and is a member of the Interagency Task Force for Arts and Human Development spearheaded by the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with the U.S. department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Lim was a member of the Peer Review Team for the UNESCO Division of Basic and Higher Education, and has participated in a number of activities with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), including the co-organization of two major international conferences to discuss advances in our understanding of learning and their implications for educational practice and policy.

Prior to her leadership of the SLC Program, Dr. Lim served as the Cluster Leader for the six Neuroscience programs in the Biological Sciences Directorate at the NSF, and as Program Director of the Neuronal and Glial Mechanisms Program. Other previous and present responsibilities include active roles in a number of large-scale, interdisciplinary efforts such as the Engineering Research Centers Program, the Science and Technology Centers Program, Cyberlearning Transforming Education Initiative, Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program, Nanoscience and Engineering Initiative, and the Research Coordination Networks Program.

Prior to joining the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1999, she was an Associate Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Indiana University, School of Medicine, where she led an active research program in cell biology and neuroscience. She received her Ph.D in Anatomy from the University of North Dakota, followed by post-doctoral training and subsequent scientist appointments at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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