Teaching scientific inquiry in large interdisciplinary classes is a challenge. We describe a creative problem-based learning approach, using a motivational island crisis scenario, to inspire research design. Students were empowered to formulate their individual scientific inquiry and then guided to develop a testable hypothesis, aims, and objectives in designing a research proposal. Personalized data sets matched to the research objectives were provided to individual students for analysis and presentation. This technique helps students to gain critical insights into the global value of interdisciplinary collaboration toward solving complex real-world problems. Students learn the front end of research, how to formulate a line of scientific inquiry and design an innovative research project—both important skills for them as tomorrow's leaders and entrepreneurs.

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