Scientific advance is often represented in media as the result of individual geniuses working tirelessly alone until they make their big breakthrough. However, the reality of modern research is often a very different one. Cutting edge scientific work will generally require a multitude of resources, many of which may not be easily accessible to an individual. This certainly includes funding, but additionally comprises specialized equipment, laboratory space, collaboration partners and, last but not least, effective mentoring by established experts in the field.
Conversely, however, these resources alone cannot produce valuable research either. A good idea remains the essential ingredient for any innovation. Thus (a) developing new ideas and (b) matching the people with ideas to the resources they require can be considered a core problem of modern science. We aim to make targeted, local but scalable interventions to meet these challenges.
The limiting resource for students when it comes to realizing impactful research is meaningful contacts and guidance, rather than monetary funding. The right people can provide students the necessary knowledge and infrastructure in order to realize a proper research project from an original idea.
Our goal is to help connect innovative students with the professors and chairs that can adequately support them in bringing their scientific idea or interest to fruition. To achieve this, three sub-goals have been defined:
- Firstly, we would like to understand how students approach the task of finding their bachelor thesis project and analyze their perception of this process. Do they find it difficult to find a project? Do they want to contribute their own ideas or prefer to simply be given a topic? If the former, what obstacles do they face to (a) formulating their idea and (b) finding a supervisors?
- Secondly, we would like to organize a workshop. The aim of this workshop will be twofold. On the one hand, it should support the creative process of the student, giving him the information and tools necessary to formulate his own idea for a Bachelor thesis. On the other hand the workshop will also serve as initial contact point between students and faculty, giving faculty direct access to innovative students.
- Lastly, building on the workshop, we would like to create a platform where motivated students with scientific ideas can get information on how one can turn their idea into a proper scientific project such as the Bachelor thesis and who might be able to assist them.
As part of the call “Multimodal Science Communication”, our team has chosen to explore the roadblocks in realizing meaningful research. At first we had focused on the interactions between science and the economy and primarily on how research is funded. Specifically, we wanted to know how scientists acquire the resources they require and how the structures to provide these resources can influence the direction and outcome of scientific projects. Through an iterative process of individual research, literature review and meetings with our supervisors, we increasingly discovered that many of our preconceived notions regarding this topic were mistaken or incomplete. After exploring diverse ideas such as crowdfunding platforms for universities, the modified lottery method of distributing grants and the influence of political decision-makers on research, we ultimately decided to reflect upon the problems we as students face in contributing to science. In our discussions with professors and highly engaged students we noticed a great potential to bring these people together to create valuable research. As stated in our hypthesis, "The limiting resource for students when it comes to realizing impactful research is meaningful contacts and guidance, rather than monetary funding."
What does a methodology look like to increase the engagement of students within the process of scientific research by looking at the amount of Bachelor theses topics stemming from Bachelor students’ own ideas.
We propose a “Creativity Workshop” in order to create witty ideas for research projects and a platform to connect these engaged students with the right chairs to support them in their own reasearch.
To collect relevant data, several surveys will be conducted. These will include a baseline analysis, targeted at current BA students, to gain an insight on the status quo ex ante. A requirements analysis will be conducted to gauge the demand for specific interventions. Lastly, a survey will be held after our intervention to measure its effects compared to the baseline.
We consider this project an effective and achievable way to make a positive difference relevant to the core problem we identified.
- Altan Birler
- Karlis Blums
- Alexander Karollus
- Jan Kochanowski
- Dominik Schindler
- Tobias Spöttl
- Stefanie Stockert
- Bruno Villela Pedras Lago
- Maximilian Wagner
- Sarah Braun
- Panagiotis Christou
- Prof. Dr. Sonja Berensmeier