InnovATEBio is a newly funded National Science Foundation (NSF) center of biotechnology (NSF DUE 1901984).
The InnovATEBIO National Biotechnology Education Center will address the need to educate highly skilled technicians for the nation's biotechnology workforce. Toward this goal, InnovATEBIO will provide leadership in biotechnology technician education, including support for development and sharing of best practices in biotechnology workforce development. In addition, the Center will promote local and national economic development of the biotechnology industry and help accelerate innovation in biotechnology and associated fields. The Center will focus on biotechnology technician education across the country, with a specific focus on strengthening the connections between high school and community college biotechnology programs. It will actively reach out to all students, including women and students from economically challenged, underrepresented, first-generation college, and/or rural backgrounds. Project activities will foster collaboration and mentoring to accelerate development of community college faculty leadership and promote collaboration with industry. The Center will work with industry to gain recognition for biotechnology programs and the educational institutions that offer these programs so that the entire biotechnology community sees the merits of educational programs and values them. The evaluation activities of the Center will gather the information needed to understand the present status of biotechnology education and future trends in the field.
To serve the national biotechnology community, InnovATEBIO will build a diverse network of educators, students, alumni, and industry partners, including incubators, trade organizations, and professional societies. These partners will work synergistically to build or improve technician education programs so that the programs meet the needs of students, institutions, the biotechnology industry, and the communities that support them. Through its outreach activities, the Center will increase knowledge and awareness of the biotechnology field across all sectors. A major activity of InnovATEBIO will be developing supply chain hubs that engage high school and community college students to produce and use the products necessary for an excellent hands-on biotechnology education. Another activity will develop open educational resources that will be available at no cost to educators around the country. Training and mentoring of faculty will ensure these resources are used effectively and broadly. Through these activities, InnovATEBIO will achieve the following goals: (1) develop a collaborative infrastructure that supports innovation, and promptly addresses the changing needs of the biotechnology community; (2) coordinate and leverage outputs from ATE-funded biotechnology projects; (3) identify opportunities to generate partnerships and collaborations that accelerate innovation in biotechnology education; (4) monitor and address emerging biotechnology industry and technician workforce trends; and (5) develop a regional outreach and mentoring infrastructure to broadly engage underserved populations in biotechnology labs and related emerging technologies. This project is funded by the Advanced Technological Education program that focuses on the education of technicians for the advanced-technology fields that drive the nation's economy.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.