News Release

Thursday, January 4, 2007

NIH Awards Nearly $11.5 Million to Support Science Education Programs

The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced it will provide nearly $11.5 million to fund 11 Science Education Partnership Awards (SEPA) across the nation. The SEPA projects are designed to inform the public about health issues, foster science literacy, and encourage students to consider careers in the health sciences.

Through mobile laboratories, portable science kits, planetarium films, and online activities, these SEPA projects will provide hands-on, inquiry-based, instruction on topics such as cardiovascular risk factors, genetic testing, and diabetes treatment and prevention. Participants will study multiple research-related issues, learn about the clinical trials process, and examine their own health and lifestyle choices.

“These programs reach out to students and their families, and target some of the most important issues in medicine today such as ethics, evidence-based medicine, and bioinformatics,” said Barbara M. Alving, M.D., Acting Director of NCRR. “We also want to show students that they have the opportunity to envision careers in medicine, clinical research, drug discovery, and the basic sciences.”

SEPA programs reach out to students in rural and underserved communities by funding K-12 classroom activities, as well as science centers and museum exhibits across the country. The awards support professional development for science teachers; the development and distribution of hands-on science curricula; traveling exhibits; and Websites for students, teachers, and the general public.

In the initial three-year phase, partnerships are formed among biomedical and clinical researchers, educators, community groups, and other interested organizations to create programs that provide a better understanding of scientific research. In a second, two-year phase these SEPA-generated curricula are broadly disseminated.

This round of 11 grants brings the SEPA portfolio to 72 active projects that span the country, from Maine to Florida and from Alaska to Texas. These SEPA projects address a wide range of subject matter from basic questions about biology to how clinical research is conducted.

Science Education Partnership Awards:

Brown University (Providence, R.I.) Phase I
Project ARISE: Advancing Rhode Island Science Education


Columbia University (New York, N.Y.) Phase II
Health Sciences Research: Educating the Public


Foundation for Blood Research (Scarborough, Maine) Phase I & II
BiomedWorks: How Doctors Use Evidence-based Medicine

Imaginarium, Inc. (Anchorage, Alaska) Phase I & II
North Star (will provide students with research mentors and internships, a summer science institute, professional development for teachers, and a Website to showcase projects)
Oklahoma City Community College (Okalahoma City, Okla.) Phase II
Biotechnology/Bioinformatics Discovery!

University of Miami (Coral Gables, Fla.) Phase I & II
Heart Smart (will create an exhibit, curriculum, and Web resources about
cardiovascular disease risk factors)


University of Rochester (Rochester, N.Y.) Phase I & II
Strengthening Connections Between Scientists and Classroom Learning


University of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah) Phase I & II
Genome Science for Health: Web-based Curricula for Biology

University of Washington (Seattle, Wash.) Phase II
Collaborations to Advance Understanding of Science and Ethics

West Virginia University (Morgantown, W.Va.) Phase I & II
West Virginia Health Sciences & Technology Academy Students Design Public Health Clinical Trials


Wheeling Jesuit University (Wheeling, W.Va.) Phase I & II
CyberSurgeons: Live Simulation and Problem-Based Learning Development and Dissemination


Full Description of Projects (

For more information about SEPA, visit Application details are available at

NCRR provides laboratory scientists and clinical researchers with the environments and tools they need to understand, detect, treat, and prevent a wide range of diseases. With this support, scientists make biomedical discoveries, translate these findings to animal-based studies, and then apply them to patient-oriented research. Ultimately, these advances result in cures and treatments for both common and rare diseases. NCRR also connects researchers with one another, and with patients and communities across the nation. These connections bring together innovative research teams and the power of shared resources, multiplying the opportunities to improve human health. For more information, visit

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®