The joint meeting of two discipline networks, CUBEnet (biomedical science) and VIBEnet (biology) and the teaching and learning project, Qualitative Skills in Science produced a vibrant and enthusiastic forum in December 2012. Participants enjoyed an opening address from Prof Stephen Simpson, University of Sydney discussing the implications and importance of cross-disciplinary research. Quantitative skills in biology were featured in keynote presentations from Dr Kyle Seifert, James Madison University and Dr Kaci Thompson, University of Maryland. Dr Siefert presented a systematic review of biology courses that highlighted issues and provided robust evaluation of teaching interventions to ensure continuous improvement. Dr Thompson introduced the audience to Mathbench, a self-study program for biology students to help them build skills and relate mathematics to their study in biology. More information about these presenters is available from the QS in Science website.