NIH Funds Seven Science Education Partnership
More Than $8 Million Will Support Programs to Increase Science
Bethesda, Maryland The National Center for Research
Resources (NCRR), a component of the National Institutes of Health
(NIH), announced today it will provide $8.1 million to fund
seven FY 2004 Science Education Partnership Awards (SEPA). The projects
will receive from two to five years of funding. SEPA programs are
designed to improve the country's life science literacy by bringing
together biomedical and clinical researchers, educators, community
groups, and other interested organizations in partnerships to create
and disseminate programs that provide a better understanding of
science research. SEPA funds programs that serve K-12 students and
teachers, as well as science centers and museums across the country.
In addition to targeting students, SEPA partnerships also develop
projects that educate the general public about health and disease,
with the aim of helping people make better lifestyle choices as
new medical advances emerge.
"It is crucial that we get our young people particularly minority
students engaged and excited about the tremendous advances being
made in biomedical research," said NCRR Director Judith L.
Vaitukaitis, M.D. "By exposing them to the challenges of medical
science and the inquiry-based scientific method, we hope to both
improve students' science literacy and increase the number who will
pursue biomedical careers."
FY 2004 Science Education Partnership Awards:
Boston University School of Medicine (Boston, Mass.)
Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (Oakland, Calif.)
Colorado State University (Fort Collins, Colo.)
Rice University (Houston, Texas)
Science Museum of Minnesota (St. Paul, Minn.)
Teachers College Columbia University (New York, N.Y.)
University of Texas Health Science Center (Houston, Texas)
Full Description of Projects (http://www.ncrr.nih.gov/ncrrprog/clindir/SEPAdirectoryFY2004.asp )
These SEPA awards fund a variety of programs, from elementary education
initiatives designed to reduce obesity and diabetes, to instructive
Web-based games that provide information about infectious diseases,
to traveling museum exhibitions about the human body. For example,
the SEPA project at Colorado State will provide an elementary school
curriculum to educate students about diet and exercise, while the
initiative at Columbia will develop a similar instruction plan aimed
at middle school students. Oakland's Children's Hospital will create
interactive classroom activities on social and genetic factors in
health to include minority issues such as asthma, obesity, diabetes,
and heart disease. Meanwhile, the University of Texas will expand
and increase distribution of its HEADS-UP health science curriculum
to include sections on the immune system and advanced genetics.
Rice University will broaden delivery of its MEDMYST project, an
episodic adventure series concerning infectious diseases and the
microbes that cause them, while Minnesota's Science Museum will
produce and tour an exhibition highlighting the emergence of new
illnesses such as SARS and Avian flu. Finally, Boston University
will expand its CityLab program to include a conceptually linked
series of hands-on molecular biology exercises that will allow students
to explore blood as a means of understanding protein and cell structures.
The mission of SEPA has become more important since the program
began in 1991, as minority representation in science education has
declined. The U.S. Department of Education's 2000 National Assessment
of Educational Progress found that only 3 percent of African Americans
and 7 percent of Hispanics scored at or above proficiency in science
by 12th grade, and minority students remain underrepresented in
engineering and science baccalaureate programs.
SEPA grants support two phases of the science education projects.
In Phase I, the partnership develops and evaluates biomedical and/or
behavioral science education models that are based on health-related
research. In Phase II, the partnership develops effective strategies
and broadly disseminates established, successful, and innovative
biomedical and/or behavioral science education models. In Phase
II, the partnership must also plan for continuation of the project
once SEPA support ends. Currently, there are 75 active SEPA projects,
including 60 K-12 school-related projects and 15 at science centers
More information about SEPA, including application guidelines,
is available at http://www.ncrr.nih.gov/clinical/cr_sepa.asp.
NCRR is part of the National Institutes of Health, an agency
of the Department of Health and Human Services. NCRR is the nation's
leading federal sponsor of resources that enable advances in many
areas of biomedical research. NCRR support provides the scientific
research community with access to a diverse array of biomedical
research technologies, instrumentation, specialized basic and clinical
research facilities, animal models, genetic stocks, and such biomaterials
as cell lines, tissues, and organs. Additional information about
NCRR can be found at www.ncrr.nih.gov.