Why this study

Public policy is increasingly shaped by evidence-based studies, normally randomized control trials (RCTs), which are often seen as the gold standard in understanding an intervention’s effectiveness. However, when public policy is based on a localized study, we often find that the results don’t persist, especially when applied at a larger scale.

This program envisions creating a network of labs and research sites across the country, where local researchers and practitioners collaborate and test the scalability of different interventions. The research focuses on understanding the scalability of early childhood education interventions, as education is the most powerful means to break the cycle of inter-generational poverty.

Early childhood education (0 to 5 years) has often been neglected. This period of life is particularly important for development of a healthy brain, and quality interventions have an impressive return on investment.

This network of research sites will tackle the most pressing issues facing education systems today by serving as laboratories of innovations that catalyze coordinated research to test, replicate, and scale up promising interventions. Over time, the program will advance the understanding of the science of scaling.


With the support of the Tata Centre for Development at the University of Chicago, the program is working to establish a network of sites in India to replicate the most promising educational interventions. The CFI-Ed (India) project runs parallel to the one in the US.

Under this program, different interventions and their potential for scaling up will be tested. The sites (or laboratories) run in collaboration with a network of local researchers, practitioners, non-profits, policy makers, think tanks, and foundations.

This approach allows different shareholders to share knowledge in an environment of collaboration, essential in designing any intervention with a lasting impact.