Training the Next Generation for Aerosol Science

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Summary

Current researcher training in the UK in aerosol science is fragmentary, occurring within the context of individual disciplines (e.g. inhaled drug delivery, formulation science, environmental aerosol). The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Aerosol Science (CAS) brings together ~50 academic teams at seven UK universities working with industrial and public-sector partners in the areas of healthcare, material science, energy and transport, environment, consumer products and agrochemicals. CAS will equip five cohorts of doctoral postgraduate researchers (PGRs) with core competencies required for practitioners in aerosol science, supporting them to develop a mastery of the fundamental principles of aerosol science, an ability to apply their knowledge across disciplinary boundaries, and the agility to be at the vanguard of these rapidly-evolving fields. In order to train students drawn from diverse backgrounds spanning the physical, environmental and life sciences and engineering, we are developing innovative training approaches using Team-Based Learning, an evidenced-based approach to training multidisciplinary teams. Using a “flipped-classroom” approach, students access mini-lectures, worked problems, bespoke ’Smart Worksheets’[i] and suggested additional reading materials through an electronic training portal. A two-day in-class training session for each topic then uses application problems to reinforce student learning through team-based activity facilitated by experts. This training in core aerosol science is supplemented by training in research methods, translation of research and professionalism. The use of further evidence-based approaches such as cooperative learning groups will support our PGRs to flourish as reflective practitioners. The training resources we are developing will be ideal for upskilling and building existing research capacity through continuing professional development. Looking forward to 2027, we anticipate that CAS will equip a vigorous aerosol research base in the UK.