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Bureau of Educational Research

Research Leadership, Support, & Services:

The Bureau of Educational Research (BER) leads the College of Education research mission and provides support activities and resources, providing pre-award proposal development, supporting the development of with large-scale strategic collaborations, and conducting internal funding programs, and supporting research relationships with K-12 school research sites.


Good ways for college researchers to stay up to date on new opportunities include: (1) Reading BER’s monthly newsletter, distributed to all College faculty and staff, which include highlights of select new and high profile opportunities; and (2) Subscribing directly to funder listservs for news and alerts on both campus and external funding programs.

At the University level, a wide variety of tools and resources enable faculty, students and staff to explore funding opportunities for scholarly activities. The GrantForward and SPIN funding search databases are free for Illinois researcher use (with Illinois institutional profile). Researchers seeking foundation funding can consult with campus Foundation Relations staff for assistance. 


Peer-reviewed funding is an important part of academic research.

  • BER offers one-on-one consultations by appointment, for individual faculty and research teams, with Jessica Li (Associate Dean for Research) and Elizabeth Niswander (Director of Strategic Initiatives). Please contact us via the BER email address, or message us individually, to schedule consultation meetings.
  • The BER Office of School-University Research Relations offers consultation and help to recruit K-12 schools to participate in organized research efforts.
  • A number of campus Grantwriting Resources and Supports can be consulted by education faculty seeking grant writing assistance.
  • Education graduate students have access to fellowships and funding through the college academic departments and the University.
  • The College Research Committee holds multiple research competitions each year for faculty and graduate students

BER Internal Resources:

Visit BER Internal web pages for more supports.

Research Services Elsewhere in the College: 

Leadership and Staff:

Jessica Li
Associate Dean for Research and Director, Bureau of Educational Research

The Associate Dean for Research (ADR) has primary responsibility for promoting and supporting research, research education, and external funding within the College of Education and its overall research and scholarship portfolio.

Elizabeth (Beth) Niswander
Director of Strategic Initiatives

Drives research development in the College of Education by working with new and assistant professors in developing their research programs, and by helping the College and its researchers to discern, articulate, organize, and respond to significant larger-scale research opportunities. Organizes research teams or collaborative groups to author and edit proposals and white papers. Provides liaison to campus research resources via the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation (OVCRI). Serves on the leadership team of the OVCRI-sponsored campus Research Development Community (RDC) network.

Meghan Fisher
Director, Office of School-University Research Relations

Manages and develops research relations with school districts, including facilitating partnerships for college & campus faculty & student research. Works closely with the the College of Education Office of Public Engagement. Also serves as liaison to Office for the Protection of Research Subjects (OPRS) with regards to PreK-12 research IRB issues and developments; promotes PreK-12 research connections with other campus units.

Kimberley Darnell
Grants & Contracts Coordinator

Laura Cooky
Grants & Contracts Specialist

Provide pre-award services, including budget development for campus and external grants proposals from across the College, and submission supports to all external funding programs and agencies. Advise submitting investigators, manage budgets and communications with subaward institutions, and work with campus Sponsored Programs Administration(SPA) to manage the proposal submission process. Please contact Kim Darnell and Laura Cooky with questions and submission needs using

Eunbyul (Emma) Park
Graduate Research Assistant

Supports BER’s capacity to drive research development practice for the College. Member of the OVCRI-sponsored campus Research Development Community (RDC) network.

Contact Us:

Bureau of Educational Research
158 Children's Research Center
2202 Kirk Drive
Champaign, IL 61820