President's Corner

The BioGENEius Challenge: The Next Generation of Innovation

When some teens hear the word “biotechnology,” they might be tempted to think about the plot for the next sci-fi blockbuster movie due out from Hollywood. A growing number of students, however, are learning that biotechnology offers an opportunity to find solutions to our world’s food, climate and health challenges.

Each year a group of elite high school students from across the nation competes in a prestigious science competition that recognizes outstanding research in biotechnology by investigating some of the most complex challenges facing our world today.  The BioGENEius Challenge, organized by the Biotechnology Institute provides young Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) innovators and entrepreneurs a venue to showcase their research, but also builds a long-term support system for converting their dreams into reality.

Engaging the next generation of scientists nurtures the best, smartest and most skilled students to find first rate solutions to health, food and climate issues that have global repercussions.

This year, Emily Wang, a senior from Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto won our Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge.  We are thrilled to be joining Emily Wang as she heads to the 2014 BIO International Convention in San Diego to compete against the other state winners and vies for a top position in the International BioGENEius Challenge.

The BioGENEius Challenge recognizes outstanding research in biotechnology and applauds students like Emily who are part of a civic minded generation looking to create positive affects for their communities.

The BioGENEius Challenge is one of the few international competitions to host student participants at a leading industry conference. This unparalleled access to leading companies, scientists and innovators in biotechnology provides participants with unbound inspiration and first-hand experience on what a dynamic future career in the industry can encompass.

Amgen is the generous and sole supporter of the Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge. Sanofi Pasteur and Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson are the generous lead sponsors of the BioGENEius Challenge. Through their support, they help secure a way to address future challenges the world faces by building a cohort of innovative stewards developing ways to cure disease, protect against bio-terrorism, feed the hungry, and clean our environment.

The first place winner in the International competition will receive a $7,500 cash prize, the second place winner will receive $5,000, the third place winner will receive $2,500 and the fourth place winner will receive $1,000.  Past participants and winners have gone on to compete in Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) as well as in the Science Talent Search (STS).

Additional support for the BioGENEius Challenge is provided by International Supporter: Genentech; and U.S. National Supporters: Acorda Therapeutics, The Allergan Foundation, Pfizer and Sangamo BioSciences.