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Educational development, outreach, and research coordination

Learning about the origins and diversity of humanity can be deeply meaningful for students. Insights from the interdisciplinary field of evolutionary anthropology allow students to better understand themselves, their fellow humans, our human-made world, and their ability to shape our world towards a preferred future.

This is why our department is committed to making the insights of evolutionary anthropology accessible and relevant to the general public. We are approaching this aim through a strategic and cooperative effort to advance new interdisciplinary approaches integrating evolution, behavior, and sustainability science across the education spectrum. 

Our education development coordinator, Dustin Eirdosh, along with guest scientist, Dr. Susan Hanisch, as well as other research scientists in our department and institute, work together with a growing network of educational organizations, institutions, and professionals to support direct engagement with local and international classrooms, as well as the development of scientific infrastructure to empower educators in teaching the latest scientific perspectives in our field. 



Teaching materials

We are actively developing a wide range of teaching materials related to understanding human origins and diversity, both in-house and through our network of academic and educational partnerships. 


We directly develop innovative educational development projects, as well as indirectly support the coordination of educational development networks. 

Teacher development

We are coordinating both pre-service and in-service teacher development programs, in Leipzig, and interationally through our network of partnerships. 

Thesis coordination

An important aim of our educational development work is to facilitate coordinated interdisciplinary student thesis work for pre-service teachers.


We offer a limited number of exciting internship opportunities for high school students, pre-service teacher students, and graduate students in education or human science fields.


Scientists in our department offer webinars for student and teacher groups interested in learning more about the work we do.

Community Science Lab

Our Community Science Lab model is an innovation hub for advancing new directions in evolution education and school improvement efforts, as well as community-based resources for learning about human origins and cultural diversity.


We regularly publish peer-reviewed scientific articles on our educational development work, as well as a range of open-acces resources and guides for educators and students across subject areas.


Cooperative partnerships are essential to our mission and educational vision. Learn more about who we work with, and how you can work with us!

Evolving an open, networked, and interdisciplinary evolution education research community

Evolution education has only become a significant focus of educational research in the 21st century, with major growth occuring in just the last 10-15 years. Despite much progress in this area, research and development is challenged by systemic issues in educational research as a whole, as well as the specific challenges in teaching students about evolutionary theory in the human domain. This project works to support teacher education students (pre-service teachers), as well as Masters and PhD student researchers through the development of tools and opportunities for advancing open science practices around teaching evolution as the interdisciplinary science that it is. 

Learn more at the project website: http://openevo.eva.mpg.de 

Our 2020 Year End Report!

2020 was a year like no other, and despite the global challenges facing our world, we have been able to advance some exciting developments that we hope will be able to grow and spread further in 2021. Because of the wide-ranging scope of this work, we have organized these efforts into a brief and easy-to-read 2020 Year End Report.

Learn more about our work in creating and developing innovative new content directions for students to explore the evolution of human behavior cognition, and culture. Check in on the progress we are making in supporting a community-based approach to linking the science of cultural evolution to the practices of participatory school improvement efforts. Finally, see how we are working to shape the landscape of evolution education research into the future through networked collaboration and scientific synthesis.

Download the report HERE

Our Teacher's Guide

Our Teacher's Guide to Evolution, Behavior, and Sustainability Science provides educators with an interdisciplinary road map to understanding the origins, development, and flexibility of our uniquely elaborated human capacities to cooperate around things that matter. The guide is a fun and resource-packed document that can help teachers from across traditional subject areas come together around understanding what makes us human, and how our understanding of our species impacts our views on social change and the challenges of planetary sustainability. 


Download the guide from our partner site:

Educational Development Projects and Networks

Our educational development work includes the direct coordination and indirect support for a range of interdisciplinary projects and networks, unified by the common thread of understanding the human condition. 

Learn more about our
Educational Development Projects

Featured Partnerships

Global ESD works internationally to support Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) initiatives that connect concepts in human evolution, behavior, and sustainability science. By linking scientific perspectives on social change with students and classrooms seeking to make the world a better place, our aim is to foster a more global discussion about where we are going in the light of where we all have come from. 


As the German sister organization of Global ESD, EvoLeipzig is a place-based initiative that works with local school partners to help teachers in Leipzig use the educational innovations we are developing around the science of evolutionary anthropology


The development of teacher competencies is a central focus of our educational development efforts. For this reason, our on-going collaborations with the University of Leipzig provide a critically important opportunity for supporting the next generation of educators in understanding the learning potential of the interdisciplinary human sciences within our Max Planck Institute. 

Primary School Science Education
Center for Teacher Training and School Research

Biology education plays a central role in supporting the educational innovations we are advancing. In this context, we are collaborating with the biology education group of Prof. Dr. Uwe Hoßfeld.

Prosocial World is a global community of scientists and community leaders working to advance an applied science of cooperation grounded in an evolutionary understanding of human behavior. Prosocial Schools a global community of youth, parents, educators, and applied researchers working to apply the science of Prosocial World in the schools and classrooms that we are apart of. 


Ancient Ancestors is a US-based educational outreach project co-founded by Dr. Chris Bayer and Michael Luberda, Ancient Ancestors works internationally to support innovative directions in human evolution education through the development of hands-on classroom labs that make use of museum quality and 3D printed homid fossil replicas to engage students in understanding diverse, and in many cases, competing ideas on the origins of our species.  Ancient Ancestors has been instrumental in developing our departments growing collection and classroom usage of hominid fossil replicas.