The Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Maryland, has announced that it has invited twelve colleges and universities to join its Science Education Alliance, which is designed to engage students in scientific discovery on a national scale.
HHMI has committed $4 million over four years to the first alliance program, the National Genomics Research Initiative, which is a two-part year-long course that enables students to make real discoveries by doing research on bacterial viruses. The new schools, which bring the number of institutions participating in the institution to thirty-six, will start offering the course in the fall of 2010.
Since it was created in 2007, SEA has been modified to include mentoring roles for selected institutions. Earlier this year, the alliance established a "buddy system" to match new schools with those that had already been through the program. In addition, four other colleges will join SEA as associate members, enabling them to attend training sessions that allow them to implement the research experience into laboratory classes on their campuses.
"Beyond the opportunities for beginning students to be involved in authentic discovery, a real strength of the SEA is the partnership of the member schools," said HHMI vice president for grants and special programs Peter J. Bruns. "The faculty members are helping each other and the communication among them is really important. That sharing of resources and ideas is a novel and exciting development."
For a list of the newly selected colleges and universities, visit the HHMI Web site.