News & Updates

Amgen Foundation Commits €2 Million to Support Science Teachers Across Europe

Amgen Teach Equips European Secondary School Teachers to Increase Students’ Scientific Literacy and Interest in Scientific Careers

Launching in September 2014 in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Spain and Turkey

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. and BRUSSELS (Sept. 17, 2014) — The Amgen Foundation, in collaboration with European Schoolnet, has launched Amgen Teach, a three-year professional development initiative, designed to further inspire and engage young people’s interest in science by strengthening the ability of secondary school teachers to use enquiry-based teaching strategies in their classrooms.

Rather than just presenting facts or encouraging rote memorisation from a book, enquiry in the classroom involves the students posing questions, researching information, diagnosing problems, understanding cause and effect, debating with peers, forming coherent arguments and critiquing experiments.

Amgen Teach is supported by a €2 million grant and follows a successful two-year pilot in four European countries, which saw over 500 science educators improve their skills with 89 percent of participants valuing the training. For example in Poland, the number of participating teachers using enquiry-based techniques in the classroom rose from just 9 percent to 61 percent.

Asked to describe the pilot programme’s impacts, participating teacher Agata Konopińska, from Poland said, “I learnt that there is a way to let students ask their own questions, think, plan and draw their own solutions,” while Margaret Hourigan from Ireland explained, “Through hands-on learning, the students are transformed into scientists and own their own discovery.” Julie Benas from France believes that enquiry-based learning attracts both academically-minded students as well as those who are more interested in the practical aspects of science.

Today’s announcement will see the programme extended to 10 European countries with the goal of reaching hundreds more secondary school science teachers and their students. Chris Van Den Broucke, vice president, Europe Region at Amgen, said, “Despite increased demand for a science-based workforce, too few students are exposed to science in an inspiring way at the right time on their educational journey. Particularly during these challenging economic times, many teachers do not have sufficient access to impactful training, resources, and materials to deliver a high-quality experience to their students. As a result, not enough of our young people are opting for a career in science.”

Offered in several languages and supporting each country’s national curriculum, Amgen Teach will use face-to-face training workshops and distance learning events to provide teachers with the skills and confidence to transform the student experience in learning science. Training will be offered free of charge and emphasise hands-on, enquiry-based learning, providing teachers with practical tools they can replicate in the classroom to motivate students. A common evaluation framework will apply and teachers will be encouraged to share best practice through a European online community.

Welcoming the initiative, Stefan Crets, executive director of CSR Europe, the leading European business network for Corporate Social Responsibility, which represents over 10,000 companies, said, “Skills, employability and innovation are at the core of the EU 2020 strategy and our supporting European Business Campaign on Skills for Jobs. Innovative programmes like Amgen Teach help change the dynamic of how science is taught and how industry and education cooperate together. This is an economic imperative – otherwise, a lack of skills will seriously undermine Europe’s competitiveness and our ability to attract inward investment.”

Marc Durando, executive director of European Schoolnet said, “Teachers are the catalysts for change in the renewal of science education but need the right training. While Amgen Teach recognises and respects the diverse educational systems in Europe, the focus is on celebrating a passion for science, sharing ideas and providing peer support.”

Best-in-class training providers in selected cities or regions across the 10 countries will recruit teachers and the programme is scheduled to roll out across the 10 countries in autumn 2014. Further information including a video highlighting the impact of the pilot programme is available at www.amgenteach.eu.

About The Amgen Foundation

The Amgen Foundation seeks to advance excellence in science education to inspire the next generation of innovators, and invest in strengthening communities where Amgen staff members live and work. To date, the Foundation has donated over $200 million to local, regional, and international nonprofit organizations that impact society in inspiring and innovative ways. It has also supported disaster relief efforts both in the US and internationally. For more information, visit www.amgen.com/citizenship/foundation.html and follow us on www.twitter.com/amgenfoundation.

About Amgen

Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools like advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology.

Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its biologics manufacturing expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people's lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be the world's largest independent biotechnology company, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential. For more information, visit www.amgen.com and follow us on www.twitter.com/amgen.

About European Schoolnet

Established in 1997, European Schoolnet is the network of 30 European Ministries of Education, based in Brussels. As a not-for-profit organisation, it aims to bring innovation in teaching and learning to key stakeholders: Ministries of Education, schools, teachers, researchers, and industry partners. To learn more about European Schoolnet, visit: www.eun.org.

CONTACT: Amgen

Emma Gilbert: + 41 41 369 25 42 (EU media)
Kristen Davis: +1 805-447-3008 (U.S. media)

CONTACT: EUN

Valentina Garoia: +32 2 790 36 or +32 488 495246 (mobile)
valentina.garoia@eun.org