UW News

October 26, 2006

Undergrads to get hands-on research opportunity

The Amgen Foundation has announced its partnership with the UW and nine other of the nation’s premier universities to provide hundreds of undergraduate students an opportunity to engage in a fully-funded, hands-on research experience each summer. This unique program will complement other opportunities at the UW, and will help participating students to make the transition between their undergraduate major areas of study and graduate and professional work focused on biotechnology and related fields.

Amgen Scholars is a $25 million, eight-year program that will provide research experience for students interested in pursuing a graduate degree and eventually, a career in science. For the first phase of the program, which extends through 2010, the UW and the other nine universities will each receive $1 million, or $250,000 each year. The UW Amgen Scholars Program will host between 26 and 28 undergraduates each summer at the UW, approximately half of whom will be selected from among UW applicants, with remaining applicants selected from other accredited four-year colleges and universities in the United States, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.

“It’s an honor to be selected by the Amgen Foundation as part of this national initiative to provide undergraduates with research experiences that will encourage them to further their studies or pursue a science career,” said Ed Taylor, vice provost and dean of undergraduate academic affairs. “As Amgen Scholars, selected students will gain firsthand experience with the scientific discovery process, and have opportunities to network with peers and top scientists. This is a rich addition to our well-established efforts to provide students with the best that we have to offer as a research university.”

Amgen Scholars will complete intensive research experiences in fields related to biotechnology and will benefit from graduate student, post-doctoral researcher, and faculty mentoring. In addition, students will attend weekly research seminars focused on current research and workshops that provide training in research skills and ethics. Faculty research mentors will be selected from a range of departments including biology, bioengineering, biostatistics, chemistry, engineering, pathology, pharmacology, genome sciences and others. All participating scholars will take part in an annual mid-summer, three-day symposium in California, where they will have the chance to discuss their research and interact with leading scientists from industry and academia. The program will conclude with a poster session where participants will present their research to faculty, peers and the UW community.

Financial support for students is a critical component of the program, and thus eligible students regardless of their financial status are able to participate. Students will receive a competitive stipend along with room, board and a travel allowance, including travel to and from the University and symposium.

“At Amgen, we believe we have an important responsibility to inspire and prepare the next generation of scientists,” said Jean Lim, president, Amgen Foundation. “We believe our partnership with the University of Washington will provide students with a pivotal experience that will encourage them to pursue further education and training in the sciences.”

The nine other program partners include California Institute of Technology; Columbia University/Barnard College; Howard University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Stanford University; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, San Diego; and University of California, San Francisco.

For more information about Amgen Scholars, please visit www.amgenscholars.com