STEMskiller: Skill Set Map for Mentors of Early Career Researchers




“Inquisitiveness” is defined by the Cambridge English Dictionary as: “the quality of wanting to discover as much as you can about things, sometimes in a way that annoys people.”[1] Highly-talented mentees are often highly-curious, and mentors should not neglect the fostering of curiosity/inquisitiveness of students, who can, according to some studies, greatly benefit from this, leading them to even higher academic achievements.[2]


[2] Kaufman, S.B. (2017). Schools Are Missing What Matters About Learning. The Atlantic.

Useful resources on Inquisitiveness:

Gino, F. (2018). The Business Case for Curiosity. The Harvard Business Review.

Includes five strategies for fostering creativity/inquisitiveness at any institution and highlights concepts which could be applied to academic institutional settings and to research groups:

Most of the breakthrough discoveries and remarkable inventions throughout history, from flints for starting a fire to self-driving cars, have something in common: They are the result of curiosity. The impulse to seek new information and experiences and explore novel possibilities is a basic human attribute. New research points to three important insights about curiosity as it relates to business. First, curiosity is much more important to an enterprise’s performance than was previously thought. That’s because cultivating it at all levels helps leaders and their employees adapt to uncertain market conditions and external pressures: When our curiosity is triggered, we think more deeply and rationally about decisions and come up with more-creative solutions. In addition, curiosity allows leaders to gain more respect from their followers and inspires employees to develop more-trusting and more-collaborative relationships with colleagues.

Second, by making small changes to the design of their organizations and the ways they manage their employees, leaders can encourage curiosity—and improve their companies. This is true in every industry and for creative and routine work alike.

Third, although leaders might say they treasure inquisitive minds, in fact most stifle curiosity, fearing it will increase risk and inefficiency.

Kaufman, S.B. (2017). Schools Are Missing What Matters About Learning. The Atlantic.

Describes possible links between curiosity and academic success, and the importance of supporting gifted and talented students—concepts which can be potentially applied to the early career researcher level.


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Table of contents:

4.7. Inquisitiveness/curiosity


Author: Stephanie Krueger

Peer Reviewer(s): None

Last Updated: October 28, 2021


Editor: Stephanie Krueger Last modified: 28.10. 2021 13:10