Biotechnology Industry Initiative to Improve U.S. Science Education

By Bianca Blanks, Biotechnology Institute

Industry responds to President’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign with “Scientists in the Classroom” initiative

The Biotechnology Institute supports STEM education and has a vision to capture the imagination of youth, to inspire the next generation to learn life science and biotechnology, and transform society’s expectations so that all citizens may appreciate the importance of biotechnology to society. The Biotechnology Institute’s Scientists in the Classroom initiative is the life science industry’s response to President Obama’s Educate to Innovate campaign to improve the performance of America’s students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Life science industry executives participated in a White House event announcing the creation of the broad education coalition called Change the Equation comprised of CEOs from across a broad spectrum of industries.

The Scientists in the Classroom initiative will engage biotech companies to advance life science education both at the national level and in their communities. The initiative, through its BioGENEius Challenge, has been launched in communities including California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Virginia, Minnesota, Delaware, Texas, and Pennsylvania, with approximately 1,000 life scientists assisting students and teachers. Ultimately, the initiative seeks to inspire 250,000 high school students in all fifty states in the next five years.

The BioGENEius Challenge is a prestigious annual life sciences research competition for high school students. The students who apply to this competition have the opportunity to compete and be recognized for outstanding research in biotechnology. Participants – over 675 high school students’ to-date – design an original independent biotech research project that is judged by an expert panel. The top participants showcase their research at the BIO International Convention to over 16,000 convention attendees. The BIO convention consists of scientist attendees along with industry leaders who can encourage the students to advance their research projects to better compete for top prizes and academic honors.  With this exciting environment, the Challenge serves not only as an incentive for students to continue their interest in the biotechnology, but also encourages them to consider a career in the field.

The BioGENEius Challenge, the Institute’s “flagship” program, continues its growth in the number of participants, quality of projects submitted, corporate participation and sponsorship, and recognition with students, teachers, educators and the biotechnology community.

About the Biotechnology Institute

The Biotechnology Institute is an independent, national nonprofit organization dedicated to education about the present and future impact of biotechnology. Its mission is to engage, excite and educate the public, particularly students and teachers, about biotechnology and its immense potential for solving human health, food and environmental problems. For more information, visit www.biotechinstitute.org.

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