06 February 2009

Convergence in Research

The February 2009 editorial in EMBO Reports on Convergence brings in interesting issues with regard to multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary research. It also espouses the importance of ethical, legal and social aspects (ELSA)of research that leads to convergence between life sciences or physical sciences with social sciences and humanities.

As the editorial concludes, "Research is, and should always be, ahead of its time, and convergence research is no exception. The potential of convergence in the development of new products and in public outreach is enormous and will provide valuable, diverse career options for those ... who are ready to expand their skills and knowledge into new domains. The old days of a single skill career are now behind us and we have to prepare for this new and complex environment."

Another interesting aspect under the Science & Society Series on Convergence Research is Genomics in School. A challenge is to introduce new topics without curricula overcrowding. It introduces the advantages of systems-thinking in biology. They are (i) being able to distinguish between the various level of organization-cell, organ, organism-and relate the various concepts to its specific organization, (ii) being able to inter-relate concepts at a specific level (horizontal coherence), (iii) being able to links concepts from different levels (vertical coherence), and (iv) being able to think between abstract visualization to real life phenomena.

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