Building Bio 2020
In August 2010, leading scientists and educators gathered to discuss their hopes for science education in the next decade. Read More
Photography by Paul Fetters
A National Academy of Sciences report issued in 2003 changed the way people think about undergraduate science education. Bio 2010 laid out a strategy to bring undergraduate biology education apace with the rapidly evolving research environment. The plan encouraged colleges and universities to train biologists who can jump into the quantitative and interdisciplinary research that dominates modern biology.
It worked. Schools now offer more interdisciplinary courses, create more research opportunities for students, and integrate more math into the biology curriculum. “Bio 2010 could have been any old report that gets put on a shelf and people say ‘Woe is me, there is a problem.’ That didn’t happen,” says Peter J. Bruns, HHMI’s former vice president for grants and special programs. “The report gave recommendations that recognize the different levels in the community—faculty, departments, administrators. So people have something they can do.”
On August 3, 2010, HHMI brought together 130 scientists, science educators, and HHMI staff for a symposium called Bio 2020: Developing the Next Generation. The seven speakers—distinguished scientists and educators—shared their insights into how to encourage students of diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in science.
The symposium honored Bruns, who retired later that month after 10 years at HHMI. The organizers, program directors David Asai and Tuajuanda Jordan, hope this is just the start of a larger discussion of how to carry Bio 2010’s successes into the next decade.
Shirley M. Malcolm, American Association for the Advancement of Science