Biologists of the coming decade are going to need to know a whole lot of physics, math and statistics. Everyone is going to need to do more math, really. The days when it was just a language science used here and there is long gone.
A new project is getting a head start in that cultural merger and wants to wed maths and bioscience in the classroom. The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is calling on its research community to submit examples of mathematics in their research which can then be developed into classroom resources. The new project aims to inspire young people to continue studying maths and make them aware of the need for mathematical skills in modern bioscience research in all areas, from bioinformatics and systems biology to medicine and biotechnology.
Researchers are being asked to provide information about their research topics and the mathematical principles involved. Paired maths and biology teachers will work alongside a science communicator to develop innovative resources featuring explanations of the role of maths in scientific discovery as well as engaging activities and exercises to enable pupils to develop their mathematical proficiency.
Dr Tristan Bunn, BBSRC's Inspiring Young Scientists Coordinator, says: "Concern is growing amongst teachers, universities and employers about the maths proficiency of young people and their awareness of the importance of maths to modern biology, leaving them ill equipped for undergraduate bioscience courses and beyond. We want to work with researchers to develop fun, engaging examples of the actual maths in use at the cutting edge of bioscience, so that budding young scientists are aware from an early stage of how interlinked the two subjects are and to embrace this, not be daunted by it."
Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC's Chief Executive, said, "Modern biology is a quantitative science, involving large amounts of data. BBSRC is committed to ensuring UK bioscience has a broad and robust base to maintain its world-leading position. As part of this commitment we need to ensure that our next generation of scientists are equipped with the fundamental skills they need to become world-leading researchers in an evolving landscape where maths and bioscience are becoming increasingly entwined."
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