Demand evidence and think critically: Building research excellence in tomorrow’s scientists

Suzanne Munns, Lisa Chilton


Biomedical science students represent an essential resource for the future scientific workforce. As research scientists are more than their content specialities they must embody core values that govern the development and certification of knowledge. However, the ethos of science is often overlooked in University education in favour of increasing levels of content delivery. This results in graduates with rich content knowledge but limited ability in the generic skills and ethos of a research scientist. To address these concerns, authentic scientific research and communication experiences based on an apprenticeship model were developed to provide realistic insight into scientific ethos and to foster critical thinking, analytical and communication skills. By adapting transitional pedagogy commonly associated with First Year Experience and the Research Skills Development framework, our research-led teaching initiatives allow students who are considering a career in science true insight into what such a career entails. Students take on the role of ‘scientists in training’, stepping out of their academic comfort zone within a safe environment where ‘perfect’ data are no longer generated and adapting to setbacks forms part of the learning process. Success is reflected by positive feedback from students and peers, increased assessment performance, and graduates continuing in science careers.

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