Genentech and Partners Launch New Open-source Curriculum to Bring Biotechnology Education to Millions of High School Students

Genentech and Partners Launch New Open-source Curriculum to Bring Biotechnology Education to Millions of High School Students

Futurelab+ is a $10 Million Expansion of Genentech’s Original South San Francisco Futurelab Program

This press release was originally distributed by Genentech. You can find the original version here.

South San Francisco, CA – September 26, 2022 – Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, today announced the launch of Futurelab+, a $10 million national expansion of the South San Francisco-based Futurelab program, a science education partnership with the South San Francisco Unified School District that has introduced more than 8,000 K-12 students annually to biotechnology concepts and careers since 2015.

Through Futurelab+, science educators can now introduce biotechnology skills and experiences that deepen students’ understanding of the full product life cycle, empower them with information about health disparities and how to address them, and help them prepare for the wide range of rewarding career opportunities available to them in science and medicine.

By 2026, Futurelab+ aims to reach two million more high school students across the Bay Area, California and beyond – many from Title I schools[1] and schools that serve communities that have been historically underrepresented and excluded from STEM careers.

Futurelab+ is comprised of three core elements:

1. The Futurelab+ Curriculum: The centerpiece of Futurelab+ is a new, free, open-source biotechnology curriculum written by and for teachers. Combining the latest scientific concepts from molecule to medicine with lessons that address health equity and inclusive clinical research, the modular and flexible curriculum equips teachers with hands-on labs, interactive resources and career exploration tools to engage all learners, with an intentional focus on the needs of historically excluded students. It also aligns to California Career Technical Education (CTE) Model Curriculum Standards for Biotechnology and incorporates Next Generation Science Standards.

2. The Futurelab+ Teacher Incubator & Educator Community: Futurelab+ centers and supports high school science educators. The Teacher Incubator prioritizes those teaching in Title I schools, providing them with lab equipment, targeted professional development, stipends and opportunities to connect with industry professionals. The Educator Community, launching in Spring 2023, connects all teachers who are using the curriculum and equips them to engage students from a range of racial, ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

3. The Futurelab+ Employee Volunteer Network: To expose learners to real-world applications of the Futurelab+ curriculum, the program connects Incubator teachers and students with biotechnology professionals – including Genentech employees – who visit classrooms virtually to help young people understand the full breadth of career paths and opportunities available in biotechnology.

“At Genentech, we know firsthand the promise and power that biotechnology holds to help people and create a better world,” said Ragnar von Schiber, principal, Corporate Citizenship & Engagement and head of K-12 STEM education initiatives, Genentech. “We heard from teachers that they needed more than just lab-heavy lesson plans that rely on expensive equipment. With Futurelab+, we set out to create project-based, cutting-edge tools that make biotechnology real, hands-on and relevant to students of all backgrounds – without a huge cost to schools.”

Futurelab+ was developed as a collaboration with Discovery Education and was further supported by a network of partners including BABEC (Bay Area Bioscience Education Community), Jobs for the Future (JFF), Ignited, The American Institutes for Research (AIR) and California Academy of Sciences.

“Immersing students in hands-on science and authentic career learning helps nurture a collaborative, creative and compassionate future workforce,” said Amy Nakamoto, general manager of Social Impact, Discovery Education. “We are honored and excited to partner with Genentech and our other collaborators to provide high school students and educators with innovative and flexible digital resources designed to inspire engagement in STEM from anywhere.”

More information about Futurelabis available at futurelabplus.com.

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About Genentech
Founded more than 40 years ago, Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious and life-threatening medical conditions. The company, a member of the Roche Group, has headquarters in South San Francisco, California. For additional information about the company, please visit http://www.gene.com.

Media Contact
Aisha Hauser
Senior Manager, Corporate Relations
hauser.aisha@gene.com

[1] Title I is a federal education program that supports schools where low-income students make up at least 40 percent of enrollment.