Minister Bruton Announces Expansion of Amgen Biotech Experience

Written by: Elaine Quinn
Written on: Tuesday, 15 May, 2018

Photo: (L-R): Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, TD pictured with Melody McGuirk, Alannah Fagen and Michaela Doran from Rockford Manor Presentation Secondary School, Blackrock at the Amgen Biotech Experience Global Conference in the Herbert Park Hotel, Dublin. It was announced that 13,500 secondary students are to participate in the Amgen Biotech Experience over the next three years.

Over 13,500 secondary school students are to benefit from a biotechnology hands-on lab experience over the next three years, after the Amgen Foundation announced an expansion of its Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) progamme in partnership with University College Dublin (UCD) and Dublin City University (DCU). By 2020, ABE will have reached over 21,000 students in Ireland, bringing the Amgen Foundation’s investment in the Ireland to approximately €470,000.

The Amgen Biotech Experience programme empowers secondary school science teachers to implement real-world biotechnology labs in their classrooms, helping their students better understand science and how it influences their daily lives. The three-week in-class lab initiative provides teacher professional development, teaching materials and research-grade equipment to classrooms, to immerse students in the concepts and techniques scientists use to discover and develop medicines.

Operational in Ireland since 2014, ABE has already benefited over 7,500 students. This latest announcement is part of the Amgen Foundation’s global efforts to reach nearly 900,000 secondary school students in 18 regions around the world by 2020, bringing its total commitment to ABE to more than $25 million. In addition, the Foundation's total commitment to STEM education has now reached more than $125 million globally.

The announcement was made at the Amgen Biotech Experience Global Conference in Dublin, attended by over 60 science education leaders, representing many top global third level institutions, including Harvard University, UC Berkeley, École Normale Supérieure, Technical University of Munich and other world-renowned universities and educational organizations. The conference coincided with the STEM Alliance European STEM Discovery Week 2018, an EU wide initiative that brings together industries, Ministries of Education and education stakeholders, to promote STEM education and careers to young Europeans.

Opening the conference, the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, TD said, 
“Encouraging more students to pursue an interest in STEM education is a priority for my Department. Our goal is to make Ireland the best in Europe in the provision of STEM education. For that objective to be reached, we need our students to be equipped with the necessary skills to adapt to a rapidly changing world and transformed employment market. That is why initiatives such as the Amgen Biotech Experience play such an important role in the development of Irish STEM education.”

“The Amgen Foundation’s partnership with UCD and DCU has been a vital part of the Amgen Biotech Experience’s proven impact in boosting students’ interest and confidence in studying science and biotechnology,” said Rayne Waller, VP of Regional Manufacturing and Site Head at Amgen Dun Laoghaire. “We are excited to build on this programme’s proven success and bring hands-on science education to even more students, teachers and communities in Ireland.

ABE has been proven to make a positive contribution to the delivery of STEM education. Results of an independent and rigorous evaluation by educational experts, WestEd, found that ABE students have shown significant and substantial gains in biotechnology learning, as well as increased confidence and interest in studying science and biotechnology. The results show that:

  • ABE students had a statistically significant increase of their biotechnology knowledge and skills (p < 0.001);
  • Averaged a 20 percent increase between pre- and post-test scores;
  • 82 percent of students got new ideas about what happens in science labs;
  • 72 percent of students got new ideas about what science is;
  • 53 percent of students are more interested in learning about science research; and
  • 53 percent of students report increased interest in science careers from ABE participation.


About Amgen Biotech Experience 
Established in Ireland in 2014, the Amgen Biotech Experience is delivered by Systems Biology Ireland, UCD and the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute, DCU. It is an innovative science education programme that provides teacher professional development, curriculum materials, and research-grade equipment and supplies to secondary schools. The programme features a hands-on molecular biology curriculum, designed to introduce students to the excitement of scientific discovery. Each year, over 80,000 students and more than 1,000 science teachers participate in this programme, and have the opportunity to explore the methods scientists use to create biotechnology medicines. 

For more information on Amgen Biotech Experience, visit: (global)