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In an effort to churn out more PhD researchers, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Gundula Bosch writes at Nature that graduate programs are skimping on teaching students how to see the bigger picture.

"Consequently, most PhD curricula are unlikely to nurture the big thinkers and creative problem-solvers that society needs," writes Bosch, who directs the R3 Graduate Science Initiative at Hopkins.

 Her program, she says, is trying to address this issue by focusing on rigor, responsibility, and reproducibility. The program, which is in a pilot phase, wants to bolster students' abilities to design and conduct experiment well; examine experiments from the perspective of social responsibility; and think critically and communicate better.

Bosch notes that implementing the pilot program ran into some hurdles, including skeptical lab heads and researchers who worried students would focus on interdisciplinary issues to the detriment of their specific field. But Bosch writes she met with lab heads multiple times to understand their concerns, though, she couldn't address all their concerns as the program is too new to have generated much data.