The Team comprises eleven educators in the School of Biomedical Sciences who have led the development of capstone opportunities within the final year undergraduate project module, and two educators from other institutions. The team is led by Dave Lewis, the final year project module lead.
The team works collaboratively and with university and external partners to continually create new capstone opportunities for students. The Biosciences Benchmark Statement requires students to undertake a research-based assignment in their final year. However, limited numbers of students were going onto careers in research. The team needed to better prepare the majority for the diverse careers they go onto through their final year projects.
The team introduced capstone projects, with a focus on personal and professional development rather than gaining research experiences, into a project module. Students are given a voice. Offered alongside traditional research projects, students select the research or capstone project that best addresses their individual developmental needs and future career intentions. By offering a broad portfolio of opportunities, each utilising and developing different skills and attributes, there is something for every student, an opportunity to excel. A unique showcase of themselves to future employers.
The team has progressively created a sector-leading portfolio of capstone opportunities. Other educators recognised their substantial benefits to students and sought help in introducing capstones into their programmes. Then Covid struck and the impact rapidly increased as Bioscience educators globally struggled to provide alternatives to research projects in the face of no access to research facilities. To support them, the team ran online workshops, created “How to Do It” guides and other resources, proactively sharing these globally. The uptake of these resources around the world has been phenomenal. More importantly, these changes are here to stay, with educators not only retaining capstones in their programmes going forward, but also increasing and diversifying their portfolios.
The team have created an emerging community of practice, with the intention to actively develop this community going forward, sharing ideas and resources, and working collaboratively to progressively realise the full potential of capstones for students, Institutions and Society.