Undergraduate Academic Affairs

University of Washington receives $1 million grant from Amgen Foundation in support of undergraduate research

Amgen scholar and UW undergraduate Benjamin Dulken

Amgen scholar and UW undergraduate Benjamin Dulken worked in Professor Suzie Pun’s bioengineering lab in the summer of 2010.Photo by David Ryder

13 top universities are partners in the 8-year, $34 million program

The University of Washington has received a $1 million grant over the next four years from the Amgen Foundation to provide hands-on laboratory experience to approximately 100 undergraduates through the Amgen Scholars Program.

“We are thrilled to be part of Phase 2 of the Amgen Scholars Program,” says Janice DeCosmo, associate dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs and director of the Undergraduate Research Program. “It provides powerful research experiences for students with UW faculty as well as exposing students to career possibilities in the biotech industry. We are happy to be seeing some of these incredible scholars coming back to UW for graduate school.”

Amgen Scholars is entering into its second phase of what has become a $34 million initiative to advance science learning and inspire the next generation of scientists. Amgen Scholars was launched by the Amgen Foundation in 2006 with 10 partner universities in the U.S.—including the University of Washington—to provide undergraduates the opportunity for laboratory research experiences under the guidance of leading scientists in academia. In 2008, the program expanded to include three European universities.

Undergraduate student and Amgen Scholar Vicky Herrera and  graduate student Michael Lee

Undergraduate student and Amgen Scholar Vicky Herrera and graduate student Michael Lee in professor Horacio de la Iglesia’s biology lab.

Photo by David Ryder.As a result, in the past four years, nearly 1,200 Amgen Scholars—representing 327 different colleges and universities across the U.S. and Europe—have explored areas of research beyond what they may be able to do as part of their regular undergraduate education. Today, more than 70 percent of program alumni who have graduated from college are now pursuing an advanced degree or a career in science or engineering, with many in scientific PhD programs at top universities across the world.“The success of the Amgen Scholars program is due in large share to our university partners,” said Jean J. Lim, president, Amgen Foundation. “These leading universities provide undergraduates from around the country with an inspiring, hands-on research experience that often leads them to pursue advanced degrees and a career in the sciences.”The U.S. and European programs will each continue to host a summer symposium allowing students to share their summer research projects, learn about biotechnology, and hear firsthand from leading industry and academic scientists. In addition, new to Phase 2, travel awards will help support Amgen Scholar alumni currently enrolled in masters, PhD, and MD-PhD programs in scientific fields to share their research at scientific conferences.In its first year, the Amgen Scholars program received approximately 2,200 applications. By 2010, that number increased to more than 5,200 applications, with only 315 openings available across the U.S. and Europe.The 10 U.S. program partners are:

  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • Columbia University/Barnard College
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Stanford University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • University of Washington
  • Washington University in St. Louis

The three European program partners are:

  • Cambridge University, UK
  • Karolinska Insitutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat, Munich, Germany

Financial support for students is a critical component of the program, which seeks to ensure that eligible students, regardless of their financial status, are able to participate. Financial support varies by host university.Applications are now being accepted for the 2011 Amgen Scholars program. For more information about Amgen Scholars or an application, please visit www.amgenscholars.com.

About the Amgen Foundation

The Amgen Foundationseeks to advance science education; improve patient access to quality care; and strengthen the communities where Amgen staff members live and work. Since 1991, the Foundation has made $140 million in grants to nonprofit organizations throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Europe that impact society in inspiring and innovative ways, and those that provide disaster relief efforts both domestically and internationally.

About the Undergraduate Research Program at the University of Washington

The Undergraduate Research Program facilitates research experiences for undergraduates with UW faculty members across departments and disciplines. Since 1997, it has produced the Undergraduate Research Symposium, during which hundreds of undergraduates present their research to the campus and community. It is among the largest symposia for undergraduates in the nation. The Undergraduate Research Program is part of the Center for Experiential Learning in Undergraduate Academic Affairs.