Richard Spoth, Ph.D., is the F. Wendell Miller Senior Prevention Scientist and the Director of the Partnerships in Prevention Science Institute at Iowa State University. As the Institute director, Dr. Spoth provides oversight for an interrelated series of studies addressing motivational factors influencing prevention program participation, program efficacy, culturally-competent programming, and dissemination of evidence-based programs, primarily funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Among his NIH-funded projects, Dr. Spoth received a MERIT Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for a large-scale study evaluating combined family-and school-based interventions, called the Capable Families and Youth Project. Another prevention trial, Project Family, is one of ten projects selected for the National Institute on Drug Abuse's “Preventing Drug Abuse Among Children and Adolescents: A Research-based Guide;” one of the programs it evaluates has received recognition from several federal agencies. A recent dissemination trial called PROSPER has received awards from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the National 4H Council. In addition to his directorship of the Partnerships in Prevention Science Institute, Dr. Spoth has joined with colleagues to spearhead the development of a number of other prevention- and research-related organizations, including the Institute for Social and Behavioral Research at Iowa State University. He was a cofounder and is an Executive Committee Member for the Iowa Consortium for Substance Abuse Research and Evaluation, cited as a model collaborative in the Bridging the Gap between Practice and Research report by the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Spoth's lead-authored publications in intervention-oriented and family-focused journals such as the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Journal of Marriage and the Family, the Journal of Family Psychology, and Prevention Science reflect his research foci. In addition, he has served on numerous federally-sponsored expert, advisory and technical review panels addressing issues in prevention research and research-practice integration, and has been invited to testify before congress, and to represent the prevention field in presentations to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Recently, Dr. Spoth received the Prevention Science Award from the Society for Prevention Research for “outstanding contributions to advancing the field of prevention science.”
Ben leads the NFER Education Trials Unit which is collectively responsible for the delivery of a portfolio of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) mostly funded by the Education Endowment Foundation. He is interested in the design and analysis of RCTs within an education research context, having co-written a guide for researchers and chapters in other books on the subject. In practice, quasi-experimental designs often have to be used and he also takes a lead role in the design and analysis of such evaluations, always remembering that the results are laced with caveats. Such techniques as propensity scoring and multi-level modelling are useful here. When not working on evaluation, Ben assists the large test development operation at NFER, contributing to the design and analysis of standardised tests.