About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2679-2687
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-612-7578-6
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain


E. Vander Meer, D. Fergusson, M. Atkinson

University of Edinburgh (UNITED KINGDOM)
e-Science has rapidly become essential in disciplines such as physics and biomedicine, where many researchers now rely on computer-enabled methods to carry out their research. e-Science enables research via computing infrastructures that provide increased compute power and storage capacity, allowing for sharing and management of large-scale operations and data sets while also addressing complexity. The benefits of e-Science are gradually being felt in other fields, as researchers in environmental sciences, arts and humanities and the social sciences, for instance, also begin to understand the ways in which these technologies can assist them in answering important, often pressing, research questions.

With the increased importance of e-Science, or e-Research, comes the need for adequate education programmes, to school individuals so that they are equipped to develop and use e-Science tools. But several challenges make e-Science education far from straightforward and a “special case” in terms of curricula development. This paper introduces these challenges and then presents opportunities, describing current European efforts to develop curricula in e-Science.

Several general challenges have been identified in relation to development of curricula for e-Science. Due to the fluidity of technology, educators can be faced with difficulties when planning content. New developments arise quickly and educators must keep pace with rapid change and innovations in order to maintain the relevance of their courses. This challenge could be considered part of the reason for a lack of well-developed curricula and good textbooks, evident worldwide. In the case of e-Science, we can also pinpoint the need for curricula tailored to different target students as well as the importance of providing multiple methods and modes of content delivery. Within the EU, e-Science curricula have developed in ad hoc fashion so that there has been little focused and concerted effort to collaborate to confront challenges systematically.

Despite the challenges, opportunities exist for educators developing curricula for e-Science. They can look to the courses that are in place, including undergraduate, postgraduate and summer school programmes, identifying starting points for curricula and best practice. In the European context, the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) provides standard measures of skills, or learning outcomes, that Member States can reference when creating e-Science course content.

Further engagement with curricula, with the goal of improving education in e-Science, has been stimulated by the e-Infrastructure Reflection Group (e-IRG) Education and Training Task Force (ETTF) and the Open Grid Forum (OGF) Education and Training Community Group (ET-CG). Supported by EGEE and the EU FP7 ICEAGE Project, the ETTF and ET-CG organised discussions on curricula which led to bold conclusions about the future direction of e-Science education. The Curricula Development Workshop, held in Brussels in February 2008, brought together leading educators in the field, encouraging interdisciplinary and collaborative development of e-Science modules. Follow-up ET-CG sessions at OGF meetings continued the work begun in Brussels. The conclusions reached in these fora, and introduced in this paper, provide a sound platform for further work in this area.
author = {Vander Meer, E. and Fergusson, D. and Atkinson, M.},
series = {3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-612-7578-6},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {9-11 March, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {2679-2687}}
AU - E. Vander Meer AU - D. Fergusson AU - M. Atkinson
SN - 978-84-612-7578-6/2340-1079
PY - 2009
Y1 - 9-11 March, 2009
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2009 Proceedings
SP - 2679
EP - 2687
ER -
E. Vander Meer, D. Fergusson, M. Atkinson (2009) DEVELOPMENT OF CURRICULA FOR E-SCIENCE: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES, INTED2009 Proceedings, pp. 2679-2687.