Amgen Foundation: Grants for STEM Higher Education

OVERVIEW: Amgen Foundation is the philanthropic arm of one of the world's largest independent biotechnology companies. The foundation makes grants in two areas—science education and community improvement. Amgen Foundation awards funding in communities where the company operates. Its science education program is partly oriented toward higher ed.

IP TAKE: Most of Amgen's higher ed funding comes in the form of support for its Scholar programs in select universities, but there may also be an opening if your focus is on training and retaining pre-university science teachers. 

PROFILE: The philanthropic arm of one of the world's leading independent biotechnology companies, the Amgen Foundation “seeks to advance excellence in science education to inspire the next generation of innovators, and invest in strengthening communities where Amgen staff members live and work.”

Amgen makes grants locally and nationally in the United States, Puerto Rico and Europe. It has a stated commitment to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities in the science fields, and gave around $18 million in a recent year. Grant amounts start at $10,000 but can range into the multi-millions.

The foundation has two key higher ed STEM programs of interest, one for students and one for teachers.

The goal of Amgen’s Programs for Students is to give students and teachers the resources to encourage young people to pursue science careers, and the foundation claims that it gives “2,000,000 students hands-on experiences in science.” The first of these, the Amgen Biotech Experience, collaborates with “leadership from university and other partners” to give “teacher professional development, teaching materials, and research-grade lab equipment to high schools” in the U.S. and Great Britain.

Next is the Amgen Scholars program, which offers “cutting-edge research experiences and exposure to biotechnology and drug discovery” to undergraduate students at select universities in the U.S., Europe and Japan. Most of Amgen's higher ed funding supports the Scholars programs in these universities.

There is also Amgen's BioTalents program for undergrads "to participate in a comprehensive, in-depth training in biomanufacturing," but this is limited to students in Puerto Rico. 

Lastly, Amgen has partnered with MIT to develop an online course that exposes students to “biologics manufacturing, increases global undergraduate exposure to the field, and encourages students to pursue careers in manufacturing life-saving medications.”

Amgen is also interested in teacher education and retention. In collaboration with MIT and the Woodrow Wilson Academy for Teaching and Learning, Amgen offers the Amgen Biology Teacher Education Program to give “cutting-edge, competency-based teacher education for the life sciences at the middle and secondary school level.” Along similar lines, the foundation recently gave $25,000 to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to support a teacher quality and retention program.

Giving areas are detailed in the foundation’s grants report.

Ultimately, outside of Amgen's Scholars program, there might not be much available—but there is an opening if your focus is on training and retaining pre-university science teachers. First, take a look at the Letter of Inquiry Checklist and the Grant Application Checklist to get all your ducks in a row. LOI's are reviewed quarterly and must be submitted online.

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