Education for Persistence and Innovation Center

Education for Persistence and Innovation Center (EPIC) is a global interdisciplinary research center at Teachers College, Columbia University, dedicated to figuring out how to turn failure into success. We use techniques from cognitive science, social-cultural psychology, neuropsychology, oral history, and education to study the critical role that failure plays as a catalyst for learning, innovation, and career development.

Research Spotlight

The Failure of Exceptional Athletes and Scientists
We are studying exceptional achievement among scientists and athletes and how failure experiences have shaped their path to success. 

Learning About Other People’s Failure to Cope with One’s Own Failure
We studied how other people’s failures, especially the great scientists’ struggles, could inspire students in their own learning endeavors.

Mission and Vision

  • Improve people’s ability to handle setbacks and undesirable situations, regardless of their backgrounds, socioeconomic status or intellect, in ways that increase creativity, innovation, and problem-solving skills.
  • Develop new theories about failure and understand what makes people succeed and achieve in a wide variety of domains (e.g. schools, businesses, sports, scientific research, and personal lives, etc. ).
  • Bring together Western and Eastern educational leaders in research projects, live meetings, webinars, and one-on-one interactions to tackle the educational challenges facing our society
  • Design instructional materials that will help students, educators, parents, coaches, and businesses better prepare themselves to overcome future obstacles.
  • Use our findings of what works and does not work to help inform policymakers across the world.

EPIC is located at Teachers College, Columbia University