CHEVY CHASE, Md., July 6, 2000-Fifty-three colleges and universities in 22 states and Puerto Rico will receive $50.3 million in awards for undergraduate biological sciences education. The four-year grants come from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the nation's largest private supporter of science education from elementary school through postdoctoral studies.
Ranging from $700,000 to $1.7 million, the new undergraduate awards are designed to help institutions that grant bachelor's and master's degrees respond to a recent surge in enrollments in the biological sciences, as well as to the rapid advances in molecular biology, genetics and related life sciences. HHMI grants will enable colleges to expand and update laboratories, recruit new faculty members and provide research opportunities for undergraduates, including women and members of minority groups underrepresented in science.
The awards support education programs that reflect the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of science and research, the central role that computers will play in post-genomic biology, and the growing need for biology majors to consider careers other than research, such as teaching science at the elementary or high school level. The grants will help colleges develop educational programs in the "new biology," which includes increased use of computers, sophisticated data analysis and the integration of biology and mathematics for studying molecular and cellular processes. Many colleges also will use their awards to create interdisciplinary programs linking biology and chemistry, physics and other fields of increasing importance to biologists. For example: