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«What actually matters is the transfer of truth and knowledge. The more our society is aware of its problems, the better off our country will be.»
Alexandre Soares dos Santos, February 2019  

Teresa and Alexandre Soares dos Santos have invested personal and family funds to create Iniciativa Educação, which was born from their belief that education is key to the progress of young people and the success of the country. 

The first meetings that led to the creation of the Iniciativa Educação were held in 2018, when Teresa and Alexandre Soares dos Santos set up a Directive Board, formed by Nuno Crato, who was invited preside it, and by Inês Soares dos Santos Canas and Sara Miranda. 

The goal of Iniciativa Educação is to help ensure young people achieve educational success, by supporting exemplary projects that have the potential to be replicated in both the educational system and in society at large. Our promoters approved the beginning of the activities with three projects that aim to promote reading and literacy, enhance professional training, and disseminate knowledge and information about education.

The purpose of the Teresa and Alexandre Soares dos Santos – Iniciativa Educação is to contribute to the national efforts to secure tangible training and qualifications for young people, especially those at risk of educational underachievement, and those who, due to financial, family, educational or social difficulties, fail to achieve educational outcomes that are within the reach of their capacities. 

Iniciativa Educação believes that school failure can seriously compromise the future of young people, in particular of those who face socio-economic difficulties, but who are capable of achieving success in school and a decent professional future, if provided with adequate support.

Iniciativa recognises the immense investment that is currently being made into education, as well as the complexity and demanding nature of the challenges it poses. We do not intend, by any means, to replace the State or society in providing training and education for the Portuguese youth. Our intention is to contribute to the effectiveness and success of the tasks related to these areas, through exemplary projects that support the education and training of our youth. We design projects that we believe have the potential to become self-sustainable and serve as models for similar projects that may come to be taken up by state and local authorities or by society at large.

The Iniciativa will include a rigorous and independent assessment of the projects developed within its strategic focus, ensuring that the appropriate counterfactual method is applied in order to do so.

The Iniciativa is open to ideas, collaborations and partnerships that may contribute with human, material or intellectual resources to the various projects.

The first areas of intervention of the Iniciativa Educação are closely linked to three pressing issues that are currently affecting the Portuguese youth and society at large: the initial stages of learning how to read; the high risk of failure in transitioning to Secondary Education; and the lack of the scientifically-founded, objective information necessary to inform Parents, Professors, Students, and all of those involved in education.

In order to try to minimise these needs, the Iniciativa has developed three main projects:


The AaZ – Reading better, learning better programme

The AaZ – Reading better, learning better project, which is designed to help children who experience difficulties in basic literacy to develop their reading abilities and improve their fluency;


The Ser Pro programme

The Ser Pro project, which is designed to facilitate cooperation between schools and companies in order to create professional education offers that match young people's needs and support national progress;

The Online Information on Education (Ed_On) project

The Online Information on Education (Ed_On) project, which is designed as a means through which to share recent scientific research on education, and bring together statistics and data that are useful to Professors, Parents, Students and all those who wish to think about education in a modern, open way, basing their opinions on the best information available. 


Other projects

In addition to its strategic lines of action, the Teresa and Alexandre Soares dos Santos – Iniciativa Educação supports other projects that are already being financed by the family: the Arco Maior, in Greater Porto, and Semear, in Greater Lisbon.

The Arco Maior socio-educational project is aimed at teenagers and young people who have excluded themselves, or have been excluded, from formal education and training systems, without having completed compulsory education. Participants ideally should be between the ages of 15 and 18. Based on an analysis of each person’s school education, practical knowledge and social skills, a project is implemented to monitor their personal development. This training is completed alongside other learning, which aims to promote independence and social inclusion. Examples of this training include visits and internships at partner bodies. Young people receive certification equivalent to year 6-9 school leaving certificates. 

SEMEAR is an integrated programme that seeks to promote the social inclusion of young people and adults with intellectual and developmental difficulties through social and professional integration in the companies and social businesses in the organisation. The Soares dos Santos family began providing social support in 2014, when the SEMEAR Program was launched. The programme was designed to train and insert people with intellectual and developmental difficulties into the labour market through the Higher Institute of Agronomy, which is where support from the Soares dos Santos family began. 

What we don't do

Teresa and Alexandre Soares dos Santos – Iniciativa Educação has no political or religious affiliations, and no affiliations with any specific political parties. The Iniciativa does not engage in political discussions. The positions adopted by the Iniciativa shall be expressed, in large part, through activities and projects that contribute to the tangible training and qualification of the Portuguese youth.

This programme shall not provide support for other activities or carry out studies upon request. The Iniciativa will not take part in activities that involve political parties, will not provide any services for which it is remunerated, in any shape or form, and will not provide support or consultancy services.

The Iniciativa Educação is led by Nuno Crato, Inês Soares dos Santos Canas and Sara Miranda.

Nuno Crato - Iniciativa Educação

Nuno Crato

NUNO CRATO has been teaching since 1980. Having begun his career teaching in secondary schools, he currently lectures on Mathematics and Statistics at the ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management.

He has also taught and carried out research in the United States, were he worked for more than a decade. He was also a senior visiting scientist at the EC Joint Research Center (JRC), in Italy. In addition to teaching, Nuno Crato was also the Minister for Education and Science from 2011 to 2015. During his term, the laws on education were amended, making education compulsory up to year 12 (ages 17 to 19), and English a compulsory subject from years 3 to 9 (ages 8 to 14). School dropout rates were also reduced by half. In 2015, Portugal ranked higher than ever before on the international lead tables for the Year 4 (ages 9 to 10) Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), ranking higher than countries that usually come top of the leader board, such as Finland. Nuno Crato strives to implement a meticulous and rigorous education system that ensures every student has equal opportunities for success.

Inês Soares dos Santos Canas - Iniciativa Educação

Inês Soares dos Santos Canas

INÊS SOARES DOS SANTOS CANAS was born in 1974. She graduated in Applied Foreign Languages from the Faculty of Human Sciences at the Catholic University of Portugal (1993-1999), and gained a Post-Graduate Degree in Management at the Nova School of Business and Economics (2008).

She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Sociedade Francisco Manuel dos Santos SGPS SE since 2014. Between 2006 and 2011, she was responsible for managing charity projects at "Entrajuda". She currently coordinates the Soares dos Santos family initiatives that are focused on furthering education and combating social exclusion. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation since 2018.

Sara Miranda - Iniciativa Educação

Sara Miranda

SARA MIRANDA graduated in Communication Sciences from the NOVA School of Social Sciences and Humanities. After completing an internship at the newspaper "O Público", in 1995, she began her professional career on the public TV channel "RTP".

That same year, she won the "Essayist Award" granted by the Portuguese Press Club. She worked as a researcher for information programmes and worked in several of the TV station’s newsrooms, including the "Telejornal" newsroom (a Portuguese flagship evening TV news program). Besides working as a journalist, a career she gave up in 1999, she has lectured undergraduates on Social and Cultural Communication Studies at the Catholic University of Portugal. She has always worked in the area of communications, having also held, among others, the position of Assistant to the Minister of Culture in the 13th Portuguese Constitutional Government; Senior Consultant at the Imago agency (which is now known as Llorente & Cuenca Portugal); Head of Communication and Image at the Santander-Totta Group in Portugal; Strategy Director of Brandia Central and, later on, Director-General of the same company. Sara is currently the Director of Communication and Corporate Responsibility of the Jerónimo Martins Group, a position she has held since May 2010 and in which she reports directly to the Group's President and Executive Officer.

The Directive Board of the Iniciativa Educação is advised by a small group of members.

Mónica Vieira - Iniciativa Educação

Mónica Vieira

Mónica Vieira holds a PhD in Educational Sciences, with a specialization in teaching analysis and organization, from the University of Coimbra. Between 2015 and 2019, she was coordinator of the research team at the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation where, between 2010 and 2015, she was content and project manager in the areas of education, science and economics. Before joining the Foundation, Mónica worked as a special education technician at Cercilei and as a trainers, teachers and other technicians certified trainer.

Diogo Novais

Diogo Novais

Diogo Novais holds an MA in Political Philosophy from the University of York and a postgraduate Diploma in Management from the Catholic University of Portugal. Before joining the team he was the External Communications Manager at BNP Paribas in Portugal for 3 years. Between 2014 and 2017, Diogo was a consultant at JLM&A, where he worked with Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos, amongst other clients. His career has been dedicated to corporate communications and public relations, having also held positions with Hill & Knowlton and Galp’s media relations team.

Our Project Coordinators

João Lopes | Iniciativa Educação

João Lopes

João Arménio Lamego Lopes is the coordinator of the AaZ - Read Better, Learn More project. He has a degree in Psychology from the University of Porto (1981), Master in Educational and Developmental Psychology (University of Porto, 1991) and a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Minho (1996). Professor at the School of Psychology at the University of Minho since 1995. Associate Professor with Aggregation at the same University (2004). Director of the Department of Applied Psychology (2015-2019) and of the Master in Educational Psychology Themes at UM. Director of the PhD Program in Applied Psychology for CPLP countries. President of the Scientific-Pedagogical Council for Continuing Teacher Education (2014-2018), Portugal representative at CERI-OECD (2015-2017) and member of IAVE General Council (2013-2018).

Fernando Egídio Reis | Iniciativa Educação

Fernando Egídio Reis

Fernando Egídio Reis is the coordinator of the Ser Pro project. He has a degree in History from the University of Lisbon, a Master and PhD in History and Philosophy of Sciences from the Universidade Nova de Lisboa. His researches focus on History of Sciences in Portugal, with several published studies. He has been a professor at the Cacilhas-Tejo Secondary School for 28 years, where he has coordinated and promoted multiple projects and teams. He was coordinator of the Khan Academy pilot project in Portugal (2016-2019), Director-General of Education (2011-14) and State Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education (2014-15). He is a teacher trainer and has collaborated in the design of training courses and workshops with teacher training centers and in partnership with other entities. 


The Iniciativa has the collaboration of a qualified group of national and international experts.

Alexandre Castro Caldas

Alexandre Castro Caldas

Director of the Institute of Health Sciences at Universidade Católica Portuguesa, he was until February 2004, Professor of Neurology at the Lisbon School of Medicine and Director of the Neurology Service of Hospital de Santa Maria in Lisbon.

He was also president of the Portuguese Society of Neurology between 1989-1992 and chaired the International Neuropsychological Society between 2001-2002. He is the author of more than 200 scientific articles and chapters and of some books on Brain Sciences.

Among the prizes received, are noteworthy the Grand Prize Bial de Medicina in 2000 and the Distinguished Career Award from the International Neuropsychological Society in 2009.

Althea Need Kaminske

Althea Need Kaminske

Althea Need Kaminske (formerly Bauernschmidt) is an Associate Professor at St. Bonaventure University. She joined the Learning Scientists team in 2018.

Althea received her Ph.D. from Purdue University and her B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in Linguistics from Indiana University (Go Hoosiers!). A common theme throughout her research is the application of cognitive psychology to education. Althea’s research is guided by questions such as: What is the most effective, and realistic, way for students and teachers to apply retrieval practice in the classroom? How do cell phones and other media affect attention and memory? Althea is the co-author of Five Teaching and Learning Myths – Debunked and co-director of the Center for Attention, Learning, and Memory at St. Bonaventure University. When she is not teaching, Althea enjoys cooking, hiking, and playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Célia Oliveira - Iniciativa Educação

Célia Oliveira

Célia Oliveira holds a PhD in Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Science from the University of Minho, with a doctoral thesis on the role played by attentional skills in working memory. She graduated in Psychology, with a pre-specialisation in School and Educational Psychology, and completed her Master's in Clinical Psychology also at the University of Minho.

She is currently teaching at the Lusófona do Porto University, where she is responsible for curricular units in the field of Cognition (Psychology of Memory and Attention) and Educational Psychology (Educational Psychology and School Psychology). She is a member of the HEI-Lab - Digital Human-Environment Interaction Lab, of the Lusófona University of Humanities and Technologies, and a member of the research group on learning and behavioural problems, of the Research Centre on Psychology of the University of Minho. Her interests and research activity revolve around Learning, Attention and Human Memory.

She has a vast and continued experience in clinical practice with children and teenagers, and she has been providing scientific advice for research projects, as well as technical advice for community interventions.

Clermont Gauthier

Clermont Gauthier

Clermont Gauthier, Ph.D., is associate professor in the Faculty of Education at Laval University, Québec city and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. His researches focus on history of teaching, models of teaching, explicit instruction and teacher education. He has published, alone or in collaboration, more than forty books, several of which have been translated into Portuguese.

Eric Hanushek

Eric Hanushek

Eric Hanushek is the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. He is a recognized leader in the economic analysis of education issues, and his research has had broad influence on education policy in both developed and developing countries. He is the author of numerous widely-cited studies on the effects of class size reduction, school accountability, teacher effectiveness, and other topics. He was the first to research teacher effectiveness by measuring students’ learning gains, which formed the conceptual basis for using value-added measures to evaluate teachers and schools, now a widely adopted practice. His recent book, The Knowledge Capital of Nations: Education and the Economics of Growth summarizes his research establishing the close links between countries’ long-term rates of economic growth and the skill levels of their populations. His current research analyzes why some countries’ school systems consistently perform better than others. He has authored or edited twenty-four books along with over 250 articles. He is a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and completed his Ph.D. in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Félix Esménio - Iniciativa Educação

Félix Esménio

Félix Esménio holds a degree in Law and has been a senior manager of the public institution IEFP for over three decades. He was vice-president of this institution's governing board, having held leadership positions in the fields of employment and vocational training. He was a national representative in community and international programmes, and the executive director of the Human Capital Operational Programme. He is a senior consultant in education and social inclusion programmes aimed at strengthening dual learning environments (schools/companies) and a member of the Advisory Council of EPIS - Empresários pela Inclusão Social (Entrepreneurs for Social Inclusion) (pro bono).

Gabriela Velasquez

Gabriela Velasquez

Maria Gabriela Morais de Castro Fernandes Velasquez
Porto Primary Teaching Course (1978).
Specialized Higher Education Diploma in Educational Support at Santa Maria Higher School of Education (1997).
Master in Psychological Teacher Training (2002), PhD in Education, in the area of ​​Educational Psychology (2009), at the University of Minho.
Visiting Professor at the undergraduate degree in Basic Education and in the Masters of Early Childhood Education and Elementary teaching at Santa Maria Higher School of Education (2010-2015).
Elementary school teacher and School Coordinator at the S. João da Foz Elementary School, Garcia de Orta School Group, in Porto (2006-…).

Gonçalo da Silva Lima

Gonçalo da Silva Lima

Gonçalo Lima collected and treated data for the website. He is been working on the field of economics of education and education policy. Gonçalo was junior consultant of the Directorate for Education and Skills of OECD, in Paris, for two years. He co-authored the OECD Review of School Resources: Portugal 2018, about the use of school resources in the country, as well as two other international reports. From last year, he has been conducting research for the Knowledge Centre for the Economics of Education, at Nova SBE. Gonçalo has a BSc and a MSc from ISCTE.

Harry A. Patrinos

Harry A. Patrinos

Harry Anthony Patrinos is the Practice Manager for the Europe and Central Asia region of the World Bank's education global practice. He specializes in all areas of education, especially school-based management, demand-side financing and public-private partnerships. He managed education lending operations and analytical work programs in Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, as well as a regional research project on the socioeconomic status of Latin America’s Indigenous Peoples, published as Indigenous Peoples, Poverty and Human Development in Latin America (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). He is one of the main authors of the report, Lifelong Learning in the Global Knowledge Economy (World Bank, 2003). Mr. Patrinos has many publications in the academic and policy literature, with more than 40 journal articles. He is co-author of the books: Policy Analysis of Child Labor: A Comparative Study (St. Martin’s, 1999), Decentralization of Education: Demand-Side Financing (World Bank, 1997), and Indigenous People and Poverty in Latin America: An Empirical Analysis with George Psacharopoulos (World Bank/Ashgate, 1994). He has also worked in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America. He previously worked as an economist at the Economic Council of Canada. Mr. Patrinos received a doctorate from the University of Sussex.

Hugo Reis

Hugo Reis

Hugo Reis is a Research Economist at the Economics and Research Department (Structural Research Studies Unit) at the Banco de Portugal and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Catolica Lisbon School of Business and Economics, where he teaches Econometrics and Economics of Education.

He completed his PhD in Economics at University College London under the supervision of Pedro Carneiro and Orazio Attanasio and was a Short-Term Consultant at the Development Economics Research Group (World Bank). 

His main research interests are in Economics of Education, Program Evaluation, Labour Economics, Microeconometrics and Development Economics. He has published a number of peer-reviewed articles in internationally renowned scientific journals, including International Economic Review.

Joana Pais

Joana Pais

Joana Pais (PhD in Economics, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 2005) is an Associate Professor at Lisbon School of Economics & Management (ISEG) - ULisboa, the coordinator of the M.Sc. in Economics, and currently a member of the Board of the research centres UECE - Research Unit on Complexity and Economics and REM - Research in Economics and Mathematics. She is also the coordinator of XLAB - Behavioural Research Lab. Her research interests include areas such as behavioural and experimental economics, game theory, matching theory, and market design. She has published on these topics in journals like Economic Theory, Experimental Economics, Games and Economic Behavior, and International Economic Review.

Joana Rato - Iniciativa Educação

Joana Rato

Joana, who has worked as an educational psychologist since 2003, obtained her doctorate in health sciences (specialising in neuropsychology) from the Institute of Health Sciences at the Catholic University of Portugal (UCP) in 2014. She currently works at the UCP's Interdisciplinary Health Research Centre (CIIS) and is one of the key figures in the Mind, Brain and Education project, where she collaborates with researchers from various schools. In 2013, she took part in the 3rd Latin American School for Educational, Cognitive and Neural Sciences, through the James S. McDonnell Foundation Alumni Award, and in 2015 received the D. Pedro IV Foundation Merit Award. Her research interests include neuropsychology applied to education, with particular emphasis on the neuropsychological assessment of children and teenagers. Joana is also the co-author of the book “Quando o cérebro do seu filho vai à escola” (When your child's brain goes to school).

João Marôco

João Marôco

João Marôco is an associate professor at ISPA-IU and invited professor at the New University of Lisbon where he teaches statistics, data analysis, and research methods. He is also a consultant for Educational Assessment and Statistics at the World Bank. Between 2014 and 2018 he served on the board of directors of IAVE, I. P. (the Portuguese National Assessment Agency) where he coordinated PISA, TIMSS, TIMSS Advanced, PIRLS, and ICILS and e-Assessment pilot projects.  He is the author/co-author of more than 300 research papers related to statistics, psychometrics and education and four books in Statistics and Psychometry. According to Google Scholar, his academic works have been quoted more than 23 000 times (H=52, i10=153).

Jorge Sinval

Jorge Sinval

Jorge Sinval is a psychometrician who works as an invited assistant professor at ISPA – Instituto Universitário de Ciências Psicológicas, Sociais e da Vida, and at the ISCTE Business School of the ISCTE – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa. He teaches statistical analysis, psychometrics, research design, and data analysis in the B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. cycles of study. He is also a post-doctoral researcher at the Business Research Unit (ISCTE-IUL), and at the William James Center for Research (ISPA).

He holds a double Ph.D. from the University of São Paulo (Doctor of Science) and from the University of Porto (Doctor of Psychology). Jorge received his master’s degree in psychology (with specialization in work and organizational psychology) from the Catholic University of Portugal. His B.Sc. in psychology was attained at the Catholic University of Portugal. Jorge is currently enrolled in the second year of a master’s in epidemiology at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon.

His research interests include psychometrics, organizational psychology, epidemiology, and International large-scale assessments (e.g. TIMSS, PISA and PIRLS). Being a Cochrane author, Jorge is also very interested in occupational health, being developing with an international team of coauthors a systematic review of the interventions for improving recovery from work. He is particularly interested in two statistical techniques: Bayesian Structural Equation Modeling and Network Meta-Analysis; using R as his preferred statistical programming language.

He collaborates in several projects. Being one of them, the Burnout Assessment Tool  (BAT) consortium, where he belongs to the Portuguese team responsible for its adaptation to Portugal.

José Ferreira Gomes - Iniciativa Educação

José Ferreira Gomes

Graduate of the University of Porto in 1970 with an undergraduate degree in chemical and industrial Engineering, José went on to obtain a master's in mathematics (M.Sc.) and a doctorate (D.Phil.) in theoretical chemistry from the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom (1976). He lectured at the University of Porto Faculty of Sciences from 1968 to 2013, reaching the rank of professor in 1985. José has also been the President of the Department of Chemistry and of the University of Porto’s Faculty of Science Scientific Council, chairman of the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology’s Exact Sciences Scientific Council, chairman of the Santander Universities Programme and president of the Portuguese Chemical Society.

Other positions José has held over the years include vice-rector of the University of Porto (1998-2006), member of the parliament (2009-11), State Secretary for Higher Education (19th constitutional government, 2013-2015) and State Secretary for Higher Education and Science (20th constitutional government, 2015).

Chairman of the General Council of the University of Beira Interior (2017-date).

Coordinator of te Casa das Ciências project (2008-date).

Ludmila Nunes - Iniciativa Educação

Ludmila Nunes

Ludmila D. Nunes is the scientific writer for the Association for Psychological Science (APS). She obtained her doctorate in psychology from the University of Lisbon and developed her research in the fields of human memory and learning at the Washington University in St. Louis, Purdue University and the University of Lisbon.

In addition to her work as a researcher, she also taught Introduction to Cognitive Psychology and Human Memory at Purdue and was a reviewer for several scientific journals.

Email address:

Ludger Woessmann

Ludger Woessmann

Ludger Woessmann is Director of the ifo Center for the Economics of Education and Professor of Economics at the University of Munich. He is also Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His main research interest is in the economics of education, with a particular focus on the importance of education for economic prosperity and on the effects of school systems on educational achievement and equality of opportunity. He is Fellow of the International Academy of Education, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, and the Academic Advisory Council of the German Federal Ministry of Economics.

Luís Querido

Luís Querido

Psychologist, PhD in Cognitive Psychology and undergraduated (pre-Bologna) by the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Lisbon (FPUL), specialist in Clinical and Health Psychology, with advanced specialty in Neuropsychology, by the Portuguese Psychologists Association.

Clinical Psychologist / Neuropsychologist at the Institute of Psychology of Human Relations, and at the FPUL Community Service in the Cognitive Clinical Neuropsychology (CCN) Intervention Units for Specific Learning Difficulties and CCN, Aging and Dementia, and in private practice, since 2000.

Collaborated and collaborates in several research projects, including:
• Longitudinal Psycholinguistic Study within the scope of the National Reading Plan entitled «Establishment of reference levels for the development of reading and writing from the 1st to the 6th year of schooling», researcher responsible for the study section «Writing and Orthographic Knowledge», from 2008 to 2010;
• «Influence of morphological awareness and vocabulary on reading and writing skills in university students», FPUL (2016-present).
• Adaptation and validation studies of Coin in Hand - Extended Version, revised version of Coin in Hand Test (Kapur, 1994), in a portuguese sample. Intervening institutions: FPUL, University of Granada, Harvard University (2017-present).
His research work falls within the scope of Cognitive Psychology of Reading, Writing and Mathematics.

Marie Bocquillon

Marie Bocquillon

Marie Bocquillon works at the schools Administration Institute of the University of Mons (Belgium). She is  involved in the training of future upper secondary school teachers and students enrolled in the Master in Educational Sciences. She works on her Ph.D. dissertation on initial teacher training and more particularly on the observation of teachers' professional attitudes with regard to the literature on effective teaching. She also provides in-service (PD) training on effective teaching. She has developed the website about effective teaching and explicit instruction. 

Megan A. Sumeracki

Megan A. Sumeracki

Megan Sumeracki (formerly Megan Smith) is an Assistant Professor at Rhode Island College. She co-founded the Learning Scientists in January 2016 with Yana Weinstein, a former member of the team. 

Megan received her Master’s in Experimental Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis and her PhD in Cognitive Psychology from Purdue University. Her area of expertise is in human learning and memory, and applying the science of learning in educational contexts. Megan's research program focuses on retrieval-based learning strategies, and the way activities promoting retrieval can improve meaningful learning in the classroom. She addresses empirical questions such as: What retrieval practice formats promote student learning? What retrieval practice activities work well for different types of learners? And, why does retrieval increase learning? In her spare time Meg crochets, and recently started a blog to showcase her projects. She also loves to travel, go hiking and camping, and wine tasting!

Mirjam Neelen 

Mirjam Neelen

Mirjam Neelen is a Learning Advisory Manager and Learning Experience Design Lead with almost 15 years of industry experience, working at a wide variety of companies. In her current role, she is responsible for strategic definition of learning experiences working with various clients and learning teams in the organization. Mirjam is a proud advocate for evidence-informed approaches to learning experience design and has a collaborative blog with Paul A. Kirschner on Together, they have recently published a book on evidence-informed learning experience design. She presents about her work regularly.  
She has completed an MSc in Learning Sciences, an MA in Psycholinguistics and a BA in Speech Therapy.  

Patrícia Costa

Patrícia Costa

Patrícia Costa is a researcher in the area of Statistics of Education at the Center for Mathematics Applied to Economic Forecasting and Decision (CEMAPRE). She holds a doctorate degree in the area of Statistics / Psychometrics and a Master's and Bachelor degrees in Mathematics. Her research focuses on topics of Educational Assessment, Applied Statistics, Comparative Education and Psychometrics. Most of her research is focused on analyzing data from international large scale assessments (for example, PISA, PIAAC, PIRLS, ICCS, TIMSS, TALIS) and instrument validation. Her research experience includes providing technical support to policy makers at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC). She is the author/co-author of several international scientific articles, book chapters and technical reports. She started her professional life as a school teacher and has experience teaching Mathematics and Statistics in Higher Education.

Paul Kirschner - Iniciativa Educação

Paul Kirschner

Paul A. Kirschner (1951) is emeritus professor of educational psychology at the Open University of the Netherlands, honorary doctor (doctor honoris causa) at the University of Oulu, Finland, and a guest professor at the Thomas More University of Applied Sciences in Flanders, Belgium. Prior to his retirement he was a distinguished university professor at the Open University of the Netherlands and a visiting professor of education at the University of Oulu, Finland. 

He has published more than 350 scientific articles as well as hundreds of popular articles and blogs for teachers and school administrators in English (3-Star Learning Experiences: An Evidence-Informed Blog for Learning Professionals) and Dutch. He is also (co)author of a number of very successful books, including Ten Steps to Complex Learning, Urban Myths about Learning and Education and More Urban Myths About Learning and Education, as well as two forthcoming books Evidence Informed Learning Design and How Learning Happens: Seminal Works in Educational Psychology and What They Mean in Practice. He is also chief editor of the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning and commissioning editor of Computers in Human Behavior. 

You can read more about him, or get in touch with him via his web page.

Pedro de Bruyckere - Iniciativa Educação

Pedro de Bruyckere

Pedro De Bruyckere (Ph.D. 1974) is an educational scientist working at Arteveldehogeschool, Ghent, since 2001 and, since 2018, as a postdoctoral researcher at Leiden University, The Netherlands. He has co-written several books in Dutch in which he debunks popular myths on GenY and GenZ, education and pop culture. Pedro is an often asked to be a public speaker as one of his strongest points how he can explain serious stuff humorously. In 2015, the book he co-wrote, Urban Myths about Learning and Education was published worldwide by Academic Press and listed by The Guardian as one of the 10 books every educator should read. The book was also translated in Swedish and Chinese. It was followed in 2018 by his second internationally published book: The Ingredients for Great Teaching. In 2019, a myth-busting sequel was published by Routledge, More Urban Myths about Learning and Education. Pedro is an avid blogger on

Pedro Freitas

Pedro Freitas

Pedro Freitas is a PhD candidate at Nova School of Busineess and Economics (Nova SBE), where he is part of Nova Center for the Economics of Education. At Nova SBE, he previously obtained a BSc and MPhil in Economics. His research has been focused on topics of Economics of Education and Human Capital, addressing issues such as: measures of teacher quality; grade inflation and mismatch between internal and external scores; human capital externalities or the reasons behind the progression in PISA tests. Relevant part of his work exploits the Microdata on the Portuguese Education System and Labour Market. He has also worked on the impact evaluation of educational programs implemented in Portugal. He was a visiting research student at department of economics of university College of London (UCL) and he is currently visiting researcher at the Economics Department of Banco de Portugal. At Nova SBE he has been Teaching assistant and grader of several undergraduate and Master courses.

Pedro Martins

Pedro Martins

Pedro Silva Martins is Professor at Queen Mary University of London, which he joined in 2004. His main areas of research are labour economics, economics of education, and public policy evaluation. He has conducted several research projects with international organisations such as the European Commission, the ILO and the OECD. He chairs the scientific council of EPIS since 2013. Between 2011 and 2013 he was minister for employment in the government of Portugal. Website: 

Raquel Lemos

Raquel Lemos

Raquel Lemos has a BSc and a PhD in Psychology, specialty of Neuropsychology, from the University of Coimbra. She is an assistant professor of Neuropsychology at ISPA – Instituto Universitário and a postdoctoral researcher at the Neuropsychiatry Unit of the Champalimaud Foundation. Her research interests include Neuropsychology and Cognitive Neurosciences, particularly memory, cognitive reserve, and cognitive impairment.

Rita Ginja

Rita Ginja

Rita Ginja is an Associate Professor at the Department of Economics at the University of Bergen. She holds a PhD in Economics from University College London. 

Rita’s main research interests are on the areas of labor, development and health economics. She has done work on the short-, medium- and long-term impacts of early investments in children. In particular, the impact on academic achievement, health and behaviors from childhood into early adulthood of preschool programs targeting children living in disadvantaged families, such as the Head Start in the US and the Sure Start in the UK; and, the impact of persistent and transitory shocks on parental investments in children in terms of both time and money. More recently, Rita has studied the impact of parental leave benefits on outcomes of children, on within household labor supply, and the indirect impacts of these policies on hiring and promotion decisions of workplaces. She is also study several policies in Latin American countries. In particular, home visits to poor households in Chile and the health and labor market impacts of the introduction of universal health insurance in Mexico.

Sandra Fernandes

Sandra Fernandes

Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Lisbon (FPUL), where she has been teaching, since 2001, course units in the scope of Cognitive Sciences, including Perception, Attention and Memory, Specific Disorders of Cognitive Development and Psychoeducational Interventions. Clinical and Health Psychologist, with advanced specialty in Neuropsychology by the Portuguese Psychologists Association.

PhD in Cognitive Psychology from FPUL, with a thesis entitled «Learning to Read in European Portuguese: Relationships between Fluency in Oral Reading, Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension». Coordinator responsible for Intervention Units for Cognitive Clinical Neuropsychology (CCN) for Specific Learning Disabilities and CCN for Aging and Dementia for Community Service at FPUL. Publisher of Revista Iberoamericana de Diagnítico y Evaluación - and Psychological Assessment.

Her research interests focus on the Cognitive Processes involved in the development of Reading (and reading comprehension) and Writing.

Sergio Longobardi

Sergio Longobardi

Sergio Longobardi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Management and Quantitative Studies at the University of Naples “Parthenope”. He was member of several scientific projects and made consultancy activities for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Italian National Institute for the Evaluation of the Education and Training System (INVALSI) and the COGIS (Commissione per la Garanzia dell’Informazione Statistica). His research focuses on economics of education, equity of educational systems, students’ mobility, policy evaluation and data quality. He has published papers on economics of education, and related topics, in a number of scientific journals and with international book publishers.  Since 2006, he regularly teaches in academic and PhD courses. 

Steve Bissonnette

Steve Bissonnette

Steve Bissonnette, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Education at TÉLUQ University. His area of specialization is school intervention. He has worked for more than 25 years with exceptional students and is interested in work on teaching and school effectiveness and effective behavioural management.

Tommaso Agasisti

Tommaso Agasisti

Tommaso Agasisti is Full Professor at Politecnico di Milano School of Management. His research activity is focused on Public Economics, Finance and Management, and the mainstream is in the field of economics and management of educational services. His research interests can be grouped into four main areas: (i) statistical and econometric methods for evaluating the performance and the efficiency of public organizations - especially universities, schools and local governments, (ii) governance models for educational institutions and systems, (iii) public sector accounting; and (iv) digital innovations in the public sector.

He holds a PHD inManagement Economics and Industrial Engineering (Politecnico di Milano) and a Master of Science in Economics (Università degli Studi di Bologna). He is the Associate Editor of the academic journal Higher Education Quarterly, and member of the editorial boards of Educational Researcher, Tertiary Education and Management, International Journal of Educational Management.

Violante F. Magalhães

Violante F. Magalhães

Violante F. Magalhães, PhD in Literary Studies from the University of Lisbon, is equated with the Coordinating Professor at the João de Deus Higher School of Education, in Lisbon. She has publications, in volumes and dispersed, on Reading, Children and Youth Literature, Portuguese Literature, Portuguese Didactics and Children's Literature. She is vice president of the Portuguese Association of Literary Critics.

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