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NEPC Talks Education: Discussing Research-Practice Partnerships (RPPs)

BOULDER, CO (April 16, 2024) – In this month's episode of NEPC Talks Education, Christopher Saldaña, Paula Arce-Trigatti, and Caitlin Farrell discuss the components of research-practice partnerships (RPPs) and discuss how research goals, research design, and practice look different across RPPs. Dr. Arce-Trigatti is the director of the National Network of Education Research-Practice Partnerships (NNERPP) at the Rice University Kinder Institute. Dr. Caitlin Farrell is the director of the National Center of Research in Policy and Practice (NCRPP) and a research professor in the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Farrell notes that while RPPs look different across contexts, they all carry core “DNA.” She explains that RPPs make a commitment to long-term collaborations with the primary goal of reconfiguring and reimagining the balance of power between researchers and practitioners, and/or participants in RPPs as they work through issues such as utilizing diverse groups of experts and drawing on a wide range of expertise.

Arce-Trigatti describes how these principles might look different across contexts. She explains that RPPs can differ in the ways they navigate the process and practice of partnerships, including tensions that arise from blurring traditional researcher-participant lines and struggles to determine research goals. Farrell adds that some research-practice partnerships center community needs, while others strive for authentic co-design and co-analysis in their research work.

For those interested in RPPs, Arce-Trigatti and Farrell highlight resources on the NNERPP and NCRPP websites, which include information about how to find research-practice partnerships and opportunities to discuss the process of starting an RPP. Arce-Trigatti explains that RPPs start with small conversations and engagement in community context. Farrell reminds listeners that learning about research-practice partnerships can also be facilitated and supported through networks of researchers and practitioners who engage in RPPs and are interested in developing RPPs in the future.

A new NEPC Talks Education podcast episode, hosted by Christopher Saldaña, will be released each month from September through May. 

Don’t worry if you miss a month. All episodes are archived on the NEPC website and can be found here.

NEPC podcast episodes are also available on Apple Podcasts under the title NEPC Talks Education. Subscribe and follow!


The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, sponsors research, produces policy briefs, and publishes expert third-party reviews of think tank reports. NEPC publications are written in accessible language and are intended for a broad audience that includes academic experts, policymakers, the media, and the general public. Our mission is to provide high-quality information in support of democratic deliberation about education policy. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence and support a multiracial society that is inclusive, kind, and just. Visit us at: