Charge to the Committee

The project will examine the formal undergraduate education, training, and experience required to prepare the next generation of life scientists. An important goal of the project is to identify fundamental skills in mathematics, chemistry, physics, computer science, and engineering that could be integrated into an undergraduate major in the life sciences to assist future scientists in making novel interdisciplinary connections. The report will emphasize preparing students for biomedical research, but will also evaluate preparation for other life science disciplines such as plant biology, population and evolutionary biology, and behavior and cognitive sciences. Case studies will be generated to provide suggestions for implementing reforms at both universities and four-year colleges.

Specific subjects to be addressed in the study will include:

  1. How will biology research be conducted in the future?

  2. What fundamental skills and knowledge are needed by undergraduates to prepare them to excel as biological research scientists?

  3. How are those skills and knowledge best conveyed? What are reasonable objectives for undergraduate education?

  4. What elements of mathematics, chemistry, physics, computer science, and engineering will assist students in making novel interdisciplinary connections?

  5. To what extent can these skills and knowledge be taught in the context of central issues in biology?

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