An innovative research conducted by scientists from Qatar University Young Scientists Centre (QUYSC) has unveiled the significant role of multidisciplinary chemistry informal research programmes in fostering research competencies and attitudes among aspiring scientists.

The study highlights the effectiveness of an innovative research-based learning model that employs chemistry-based research projects in developing high school students’ research competency and attitudes.

The chemistry-based research projects, according to an article on QU Research Magazine, were carried out as a part of an informal programme, in real-world laboratories on 330 high school students integrating different branches of chemistry, including physical, organic, inorganic, electrochemistry and biochemistry, in addition to other science and engineering areas.

The programme was primarily successful in developing students’ research self-efficacy and fostering their research competencies in multidisciplinary science. Further research targets to analyse the long-term effect of the multidisciplinary research experiences on their attitudes toward higher education and research-oriented careers that can contribute to a knowledge-based economy.

This study was conducted by QUYSC as part of the “I am a Researcher” programme, for national students to nurture their research-based knowledge through advanced research experiences under the mentorship of research experts and scientists. The findings published in journal of chemical education in the American Chemical Society shed light on the transformative impact of these programmes in shaping the future of scientific research.

The chemistry subjects harmonise with many science and engineering disciplines, thus providing immense research scope in various multidisciplinary topics. The data were collected using a mixed method by performing an indirect assessment on the programme effectiveness, conducting surveys on students, research assistants and the research faculty mentors involved in the programme.

The study, “The Role of Multidisciplinary Chemistry Informal Research Programmes in Building Research Competencies and Attitudes,” aimed to investigate the benefits and outcomes of informal research experiences in the field of chemistry. By examining the perspectives of participating students and analysing their research competencies and attitudes, the research team gained valuable insights into the effectiveness of multidisciplinary approaches in nurturing scientific talent.

Through a carefully designed research programme, students were exposed to a wide range of interdisciplinary research projects that combined principles from various science and engineering branches, particularly on chemistry sub-disciplines. These projects encouraged participants to explore innovative approaches, collaborate across disciplines and think critically to solve complex scientific problems.

The findings of this research study have implications for educational institutions, policymakers, and organisations invested in promoting scientific research. It underscores the importance of fostering multidisciplinary collaborations, providing informal research opportunities and promoting research competencies and attitudes among young scientists. This study serves as a call to action for the scientific community to further invest in multidisciplinary chemistry informal research programmes and create an ecosystem that nurtures the scientific potential of aspiring researchers.

Prof Noora al-Thani, the study’s principal investigator, emphasised the significance of the research and added: “This programme provides invaluable opportunities for aspiring scientists to engage in hands-on research experiences and develop the necessary skills and mindset for a successful scientific career.”
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