News Release

Monday, July 24, 2006

NIH Funds Seven Science Education Programs

 The National Institutes of Health (NIH) today announced it will grant $8.5 million in Science Education Partnership Awards (SEPA) for projects that will engage the public in medical research, stimulate interest in science, and encourage the next generation of health professionals.

By conducting experiments in online science laboratories, learning how genetics is used to study health-related problems, or examining medical mysteries that fuel scientific inquiry, students and families around the country will learn about health issues through seven initiatives supported in the program’s second round of FY 2006 funding. Administered by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) — a part of the NIH — SEPA grants provide from two to five years of support.

With an emphasis on reducing health disparities, the program’s K-12 projects target minorities and students in rural and underserved communities. The awards support enhanced training for science teachers; the development and distribution of hands-on science curricula; and websites for students, teachers, and the general public.

“By engaging the public in clinical research topics, we hope to increase their awareness and understanding of medical advances so that they can make informed decisions about health issues for their families and for themselves,” said Barbara M. Alving, Acting Director of NCRR. “In addition, our SEPA projects provide high-quality instruction to students throughout the country, creating opportunities for them to perform science projects, improve their knowledge of biomedical research, and consider their own futures as scientists or professionals in health-related fields.

FY 2006 Science Education Partnership Awards:
Illinois State University (Normal, Ill.) Phase I+II
The Mind Project’s Cutting Edge Health Science Initiative

University of Alabama (Birmingham, Ala.) Phase I+II
Birmingham Science Education Partnership: Middle School Inquiry-Based Learning

University of Arizona (Tucson, Ariz.) Phase I+II
K-12 Virtual Clinical Research Center & Medical Ignorance Exploratorium

University of Maryland (College Park , Md.) Phase II
The Perfect Partnership: Science-enriched Physical Education

University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Mich.) Phase I+II
Education for Community Genomic Awareness

University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, Pa.) Phase I+II
Partnership in Biomedical Discovery

University of Tennessee Health Science Center (Memphis, Tenn.) Phase I+II
Building Bridges to Health Science Literacy

Full Description of Projects

SEPA programs serve K-12 students and teachers, as well as science centers and museums across the country. In the initial three-year phase, SEPA programs form partnerships among biomedical and clinical researchers, educators, community groups, and other interested organizations to create programs that provide a better understanding of scientific research. In the second two-year phase of the program, these SEPA-generated curricula are more broadly disseminated to effectively leverage resources.

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®