I reflect endlessly on the current disparity between the esteem in which education and research are held in the university sector, about means to blur the teaching–research dualism, about the fruitful nexus between teaching and research, and about what each can learn from the other.

Here I highlight one area in which science education researchers have something important to learn from their non-education science research colleagues.   

While most successful non-education science researchers in Monash University’s Faculty of Science lead groups in which postdoctoral fellows and postgraduate students do the bulk of the day-to-day work, this model is currently absent from education-focused research in our Faculty. 

Stimulating such a model, with an associated intensification of education-focused research that lifts the bar for such research Faculty-wide, is the purpose of the recently-launched Science Education Research Fund.  This a new scheme, which will fund a three-year postdoctoral fellow to contribute full-time to the science education research programme of the successful applicant, much as postdoctoral fellow would contribute to the research programme of non-education science researchers.

I view this as an important step forward on a number of fronts, not the least of which is a small closing of the gap in the present disparity between the level to which science education research is funded and the level to which it should be funded.  Another advance is encouraging science education researchers to embrace, where appropriate, the “research group” model incorporating postdoctoral fellows which is so successfully employed by many non-education science researchers.    

Applications close tomorrow, and I can't wait to be inspired by them!