Research-led education: challenges and experiences


  • Anna N. Wilson
  • Susan M. Howitt
  • Kate F. Wilson


The role of a university education in science is changing. In the new knowledge economy, the factcentred, narrowly-focussed education often acquired in a traditional science degree is no longer valued for its own sake, partly because such knowledge, and associated technical skills, can rapidly become outdated, but also because people entering the workforce can expect to have to change jobs and duties several times during their lifetimes. Instead, the skills that are most valued in the science graduate are the logical approach, the inquisitiveness and the adaptability that characterise a lifelong learner. This change is reflected in the new emphasis on training students in ‘research skills’ evident in the changing nature of science degrees in many Australian universities, since the skills of the lifelong learner are similar to those of the effective researcher.