Million-dollar injection for the Amgen Scholars Program
[PRESS RELEASE 2010-11-10] The Amgen Foundation research programme for first-cycle (Bachelor level) students at 13 top universities in the USA and Europe, of which Karolinska Institutet is one, enters its second phase today. This means that each institution is to receive a new appropriation of approximately USD 1 million over four years to finance their summer research schools for selected students.
Karolinska Institutet, University of Cambridge and Ludwig-Maximilians Universitat in Munich are the only three European universities included in the Amgen Scholars Program. The European version of this programme was launched in 2009 and will continue until 2014.
"This is an excellent way for Karolinska Institutet to offer gifted young students from Europe a chance to come and gain some practical experience of research in a laboratory environment," says Dean of Doctoral Education Clara Gumpert.
The Amgen Foundation was set up to support students on natural science programmes and to entice more students into careers in scientific and biomedical research. To this end, it will be investing USD 34 million in the USA and Europe until 2014 to enable each participating university to run an annual summer research school.
"We applied and were selected, and so far we´ve held two research schools, one in 2009 and again in 2010," says Jonas Sundbäck, Program director of the Amgen Scholars Program at Karolinska Institutet. "In the first year we admitted twelve students, this summer it was fifteen. Over the coming four summers we will be taking in 25 students, which is on a par with the other participating universities."
This summer, students from Europe took part in projects in a range of fields including cancer, neuroscience and immunology, and studied such topics as the potential treatment of breast cancer, the regulation of cell death in neurological diseases, the function of natural killer cells and the regulation of autoimmunity in different model systems. These subject areas were chosen by the students themselves, the Amgen Foundation having no control over content or any other aspect of the education.
"It´s an honour for us to be included in the programme, and for Karolinska Institutet to be selected as one of the top 13 universities in the USA and Europe," says Dr Gumpert. "But the most important thing is being able to give students the chance to explore scientific research. It also gives us an invaluable contact network through all the students that come to us in the summer and that later, hopefully, continue on to third-cycle education."
An important and unique component of the Amgen Scholar Program is a concluding three-day joint symposium, held, for European students, in Cambridge.