THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., Nov. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Amgen Foundation today announced $2.5 million in new grants for the Amgen Biotech Experience, an innovative science education program, bringing the total committed to nearly $8 million since the program's inception in 1990. The Amgen Biotech Experience provides a real-world biotech lab experience to middle and high schools in Amgen's U.S. and United Kingdom (U.K.) communities and will engage more than 50,000 students this year. Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), a global nonprofit organization that creates learning opportunities around the world, has also been named Program Office to oversee the program's implementation and facilitate its continued development.
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Cutbacks in educational funding have led to limited resources for hands-on scientific experiences in many communities, and the National Academies' National Research Council has shown a significant connection between strong lab experiences and teachers' abilities to generate student interest in science. The Amgen Biotech Experience seeks to help make this connection in secondary school classrooms by introducing students to contemporary science techniques, including a robust, hands-on curriculum, research-grade equipment and comprehensive teacher training."By providing cutting-edge scientific experience today, students can begin to develop capabilities to make a powerful impact on society tomorrow," said Robert A. Bradway, chairman and chief executive officer of Amgen. "The Amgen Biotech Experience, designed in collaboration with educators and Amgen scientists, provides a rigorous real-world experience that helps open students' eyes to the world of biotechnology and scientific discovery." In 2013, the Amgen Foundation will give more than $2.5 million in grants to community colleges, universities and nonprofit organizations that lead and support the Amgen Biotech Experience in different regions across the country where Amgen has a presence, including Southern and Northern California, Colorado, Washington, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico and the U.K. The program will also be introduced in Washington, D.C., in 2014. Since 1990, the Amgen Biotech Experience has engaged more than 300,000 students in learning molecular biology using relevant curricula, tools and techniques. Teachers are given a hands-on, inquiry-based, biology curriculum, in addition to a full suite of transportable, research-grade equipment and supplies, at no cost to the participating schools. Utilizing Nobel Prize-winning discoveries to prepare a recombinant DNA molecule that carries a gene for red fluorescent protein, students follow many of the steps biotechnology researchers use to produce medicines.
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