About the Merrill Center

The Merrill Advanced Studies Center is a part of the Life Span Institute, and shares the Institute's reputation for cutting-edge research in human development and disability. The Center is directed by Mabel L. Rice, PhD, a leading authority on language disabilities in children.

The Merrill Center was created in 1990 with a generous endowment from Virginia and Fred Merrill of Leawood, Kansas. They continue to support the mission of the Center as benefactors.

Fred and Virginia Merrill
Fred and Virginia Merrill

The Center hosts small working conferences on hot topics in science and policy. From its scientific conferences, edited collections are published commercially. In-house, the Center publishes a series of papers on The Research Mission of Public Universities.

Additionally, the Merrill Center publishes outreach for the public including articles and fact sheets about aging, children's development, and the latest science in the area of disability research.

World-class experts often meet as a group for the first time at Merrill conferences. From this experience they develop nationally competitive projects that answer key questions in science. The Center excels at building bridges between academic disciplines and institutions. In science today, no single discipline can unravel the causes of disability, the process of aging, or the mystery of human development. Merrill books organize new research approaches by involving experts from the fields of neuroscience, psychology, behavioral science, education, and communication disorders.

The Merrill Center has also become a catalyst for policy issues in academe. At its conference on libraries and electronic publishing in 2000, 36 participants issued a statement of principles that has been widely used to change the way scientific findings are published and used. In 2001, conference participants from the University of Kansas, the Stowers Institute in Kansas City, and the University of Missouri at Kansas City formed KC-CEL to pursue their vision of a Biomed Valley in the region.

Seven edited scientific books are available from commercial printers. They represent innovative approaches to solving human disability issues.