Chris Chartier

Psychological Science Accelerator, founded by AU professor, wins Einstein Foundation Award

Published on Dec. 12, 2022
College of Arts & Sciences

ASHLAND, Ohio – The Psychological Science Accelerator (PSA), which was founded by Chris Chartier, associate professor of psychology at Ashland University, was selected for a 2022 Einstein Foundation Award for Promoting Quality in Research, as announced Dec. 1. The international honor is presented in three categories—PSA won the institution award—and awardees are selected by a jury of renowned researchers representing the natural sciences, the humanities and the social sciences.

Chartier established the PSA in 2017 with the innovative idea of improving the quality of psychological research by increasing data collection from across different populations, leading to more comprehensive data and a better understanding of humans globally. It has grown into an international network of 1,400 researchers in 71 countries working together in teams to make results reproducible and relevant across all cultures.

This collaborative system allows PSA to conduct large-scale projects, providing a framework for researchers to carry out studies and trials with thousands of participants. The choice of research topics is a democratic approach, in which PSA members submit ideas and then they are collectively voted on.

“We are all filled with gratitude that such a competitive, international and prestigious award would be given to the PSA network,” said Chartier, who is still very involved as the past director and current assistant director of the PSA. “It’s a wonderful moment of affirmation and shows that our work is having an impact and being noticed globally.”

Chartier was sure to credit his many collaborators. “The award would not have been possible without the support of our prior dean, Dawn Weber, and dozens of AU students who have contributed to the PSA since day one, particularly Savannah Lewis ’22, who is now pursuing her Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Alabama,” he noted.

During the award presentation, the PSA was hailed for making key contributions to the democratization and diversification of psychological research. “The (PSA) has developed a unique transformative approach to raise scientific standards by ensuring that research is truly diverse and democratic,” commented jury member Dorothy Bishop, emeritus professor of development neuropsychology at Oxford University.

In addition to the recognition, the PSA was awarded a monetary prize of 200,000 euros, equivalent to about $210,000. Chartier said the PSA will utilize it “to expand the scope of the studies we can conduct, compensate administrative contributors and support under-resourced laboratories in the network.”

The Einstein Award for Promoting Quality in Research accolade comes shortly after a major three-year grant from the John Templeton Foundation was rewarded to the PSA. Work on that multi-study project just recently began and is being supported by two full-time researchers at AU, Erin Sievers and Kathleen Schmidt. “They are both working tirelessly with our PSA collaborators to vet, select and prepare studies for global data collection,” remarked Chartier.

The Einstein Foundation is an independent, non-profit, science-led organization, established in 2009. It promotes international cutting-edge science and research across disciplines and institutions in and for Berlin. In the last 13 years, it has funded more than 200 researchers, including three Nobel laureates, and more than 70 projects and seven Einstein Centers.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.