NSF grants nearly $1 million to innovate biotechnology education

July 11, 2006

By hammersmith

The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, ASU Polytechnic campus, Mesa Community College, and Mesa Public Schools have together been awarded a $900,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to address future workforce needs in the field of biosciences.

The award is led by Steve Slater of the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, along with Lewis Obermiller, director of the biotechnology program at Mesa Community College, and Xan Simonson, coordinator of the Mesa Public Schools Biotechnology Academy and chair of the Department of Life Sciences at Mesa High.

The project focuses primarily on bridging the state’s academic programs, in what is known as a “2+2+2” model: Students study biosciences in high school, then seamlessly move to a two-year program at community college before transferring to a university for their final two years of education.

The project will also offer summer workshops to high school instructors in order to develop or advance biotech courses and programs at their local institutions, and will work to create a partnership between the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and Mesa Community College for faculty and student internships.

“This is not only great for the students, but also for the state of Arizona because it limits the amount of time needed to produce quality workers in this field,” Obermiller said.

Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap has identified workforce as a key shortfall to be addressed if Arizona is to realize its biosciences potential.

For more information:

National Science Foundation awards $900,000 grant for innovating biotechnology education,” Arizona State University press release, 07/05/2006