The National Science Foundation awarded the Oregon Sea Grant a five-year $2.6 million grant to create a free-choice learning lab at Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, the university announced Wednesday.
OSU and Sea Grant staff will use the funds to study how people learn about marine sciences at Hatfield's visitors center, which sees about 150,000 visitors every year.
The research will be used for a better understanding of free-choice learning, the study of how people learn throughout their lifetime when they have the choice and ability to control their learning.
Shawn Rowe, a faculty member in both Sea Grant and the OSU College of Education, will oversee the research project.
The grant is the largest research award the Oregon Sea Grant has received in its 40-year history.