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Iu Cognitive Scientists Receive $3.1 Million For Innovative Training Methods

By Indiana ­niversity

August 28, 2009

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Indiana University (IU) Bloomington researchers have received a five-year, $3.1 million grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop and deploy new methods for training tomorrow's scientists. NSF says the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program is intended to "catalyze a cultural change in graduate education" through new models for graduate student education and training that go beyond the traditional disciplinary boundaries. IGERT also is intended to promote diversity in student participation and preparation and create a world-class, inclusive, and globally engaged science and engineering workforce.

"Building on our existing strengths in the psychological and brain sciences and complex systems, as well as our new activities in robotics, this award will allow us to offer a unique training program on situated, embodied, and dynamical approaches to cognition," says IU Bloomington professor Randall Beer, the principal investigator for the grant.

IU Bloomington will focus on the interaction that occurs between an agent's body and environment and its brain and the role that interaction plays in the production of behavior and cognition. The primary motivator for the "dynamics of brain-body-environment interaction in behavior and cognition" IU training initiative is to decompose systems into their essential parts and to then put those parts back together to show how they interact to form a functioning and adaptive whole. Graduate students will receive training in a variety of areas, including computational simulations, mathematical analysis, experimental methods, robotics, and neuroscience.

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