College Receives $800K Grant from Hughes Institute

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has announced that Trinity is among the 42 colleges and universities chosen to receive a total of almost $50 million in grant money earmarked for undergraduate science programs. A team of faculty, led by Alison Draper, director of the Interdisciplinary Science Center, submitted a proposal seeking funding sufficient to increase student research opportunities, promote faculty development, broaden access to life science courses, and strengthen curricular and research ties among departments and programs. The timing of the proposal coincided with the College’s increased efforts to expand the number of science faculty, reduce traditional obstacles to basic science education, and develop alternative tracks to life sciences study.

Trinity’s HHMI proposal included financial support to supplement ongoing efforts to recruit life science majors and enrich student education through expanded opportunities for, and earlier immersion in, self-directed research. The principle goal is to introduce more students to the fundamentals and practices of basic life sciences research at a stage early enough in their education so that they can develop skills in experimental design and problem solving. “The HHMI grant is a great thing for the sciences at Trinity,” says Draper. “It recognizes our efforts to create a first-class educational atmosphere for our students and gives us the resources to take it to the next level. We are really excited about this opportunity.”

According to the organization’s Web site, the latest round of grants brings HHMI’s investment in undergraduate science to more than $606 million. The four-year grants, ranging from $500,000 to $1.6 million, support a variety of programs to improve undergraduate science, from new courses in hot fields such as bioinformatics and computational biology, to fellowships for postdoctoral researchers that include teaching experiences, and a mobile teaching laboratory to bring science to disadvantaged and minority students in remote areas.

HHMI invited 198 public and private baccalaureate and master's institutions to compete for the new awards. They were selected for their record of preparing students for graduate education and careers in research, teaching, or medicine. A panel of distinguished scientists and educators reviewed proposals and recommended the 42 awards approved by the Institute's Board of Trustees on May 4.

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