Changing the Culture of Science Education Marco Vencato Swiss Science and Technology Council (SSTC) (Switzerland) [email protected] Stimulated by the fact that the universities need a “revolution in science education”, Science, one of the world’s leading journals of scientific research, announced in January 2011 the “Science prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction” to highlight outstanding modules for teaching introductory college science courses. This initiative is part of a major global effort, put forward by research universities in recent years, to enhance the value and quality of teaching as a crucial factor for improving the performance of their students and potential researchers. Rewarding and supporting excellence in teaching, evaluating teaching effectiveness, creating small peer teaching groups: these are only a few of the measures being considered to establish a new academic culture which encourages science faculty to be equally committed to their teaching and research missions. However, the reward system at universities still heavily weights research activities at the expense of teaching. Yet, the traditional model of science instruction – a professor lecturing a large group of students – continues to dominate and teaching is rarely judged from the outside, often only minimally within the universities. From a broader perspective, there can be no doubt that modern societies need skilled and rational problem-solvers – both in the workplace and in their daily lives – who understand the nature of science, its power and limitations, and value science as a way of knowing. In light of this, the Swiss Science and Technology Council (SSTC) recently invited several experts from Germany, Austria and Switzerland to discuss possible ways of implementing a new culture of science education which promotes the development of transferable reasoning skills and research strategies. Reflecting the outcomes of this discussion, the present paper will argue that excellence in research and teaching are closely intertwined and can contribute to increase the effectiveness of both.