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New science scholars programme first for New Zealand

New science scholars programme first for New Zealand

A new programme to identify and encourage the best and brightest science students at the beginning of their university careers begins at the University of Auckland next year.

A new programme to identify and encourage the best and brightest science students at the beginning of their university careers begins at the University of Auckland next year.

The Science Scholars Programme is a first for New Zealand and offers undergraduates one-on-one mentoring, dedicated lectures and research opportunities not usually available at undergraduate level.

“We’re not necessarily looking for those with the highest grades, but students who have the ability to creatively engage with their subjects and who are naturally curious and questioning,” says Science Scholars Programme Coordinator Dr Nicolette Rattenbury.

“We want to produce scientists who are all-rounders, who can write an essay or produce a report and work within cross-disciplinary teams because that is what the future will demand.”

Successful applicants to the programme will debate the big issues in science, attend guest lectures from leading scientists and develop the “soft” skills that are vital to successful careers in science.

Entry criteria include a written personal statement from applicants on why they want to enter the programme and, while high grades will be taken into account, Dr Rattenbury says the point of the programme is to avoid hard-and-fast criteria for entry.

“We’re looking to the future where scientists will need more than just expert knowledge in their field. We need to produce young scientists who don’t take things at face value but who can think things through and we will be trying to identify those students and encourage them to apply.”

The University expects entry to the programme will be competitive.

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