The 27th of November marked the official opening of a new research centre combining neuroscience, education, advanced imaging and psychology to enhance learning.

Opened by the Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts, The Hon Ian Walker MP, the Science of Learning Research Centre (SLRC) is a Special Research Initiative of the Australian Research Council, which brings together researchers from different disciplines who, in collaboration with educators, want to understand what leads to successful learning.

The research conducted in the Centre will aid the design of effective and practical techniques that facilitate learning and permit better assessment to the benefit of all Australians.

“The objectives of the SLRC are to identify, research and understand effective learning practices in the light of current knowledge about basic learning processes and factors that influence successful human learning,” says Professor Perry Bartlett, whose vision inspired the Centre.

“The establishment of the Science of Learning Research Centre will, for the first time, allow us to take what we know about how the brain learns and translate that into educational outcomes,” he said.

“A bench top to blackboard approach is revolutionary for the learning community.”

The collaboration brings together researchers from three lead institutions: UQ, the University of Melbourne, and the Australian Council for Educational Research, as well as Flinders University, Deakin University, University of New England, Charles Darwin University, and Macquarie University.

Mr Walker says this novel approach has the power to influence the educational outcomes for generations to come.

“To meet the challenges of the future, Queenslanders young and old will require lateral thinking, forward thinking, and creativity,” he said.

“The SLRC will bring new perspectives to teaching and education – from pre-school through formal education to life-long learning.

“This kind of research is another way we can shape a better, brighter future for the people of Queensland.”

UQ’s Professor Ottmar Lipp, inaugural Director of the Centre, says the SLRC will place learning at the focus of its research and develop an evidence-based approach to educational practice.

“This collaboration will be facilitated by the centrepieces of the Centre, two experimental classrooms one at UQ and one at the University of Melbourne.

“It is essential that this is done in collaboration between researchers from different disciplines on the one side and practitioners on the other.”