Friday, May 21, 2010

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Awards $79 Million to Boost Science Education

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) yesterday announced grants totaling $79 million to help universities strengthen undergraduate and precollege science education nationwide.  

The grants will enable faculty at research universities to pursue some of their most creative ideas and develop new ways to teach and inspire students about science and research. Fifty research universities in thirty states and the District of Columbia will be awarded a total of $70 million through the institute's Precollege and Undergraduate Science Education Program.  The schools will use the grants, which range from $800,000 to $2 million over four years, to develop creative, research-based courses and curricula; give more students experience working in the lab; and improve science teaching from elementary school through college. Grantees include Florida International University, Northwestern University, and the University of North Texas.  

In addition, thirteen HMMI Professors will receive a total of $9 million over four years to help solve important problems facing science education, including how best to bring research into the classroom, teach large introductory science courses, and encourage students from diverse backgrounds to become scientists. The funding will enable individual scientists to develop innovative ideas for the classroom using the same creativity and adaptability as they do in the research laboratory.

According to HHMI president, Robert Tjian, "HHMI is committed to funding education programs that excite students' interest in science.  We hope that these programs will shape the way students look at the world — whether those students ultimately choose to pursue a career in science or not."


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