Forsyth Tech Wins Federal Grant to Train Bioscience Instructors at Community Colleges

(Winston-Salem, NC) – Forsyth Tech has been awarded a $490,568 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a three-year professional development initiative to improve the quality and relevance of community college bioscience education.

The Bioscience Industry Fellowship Project (BIFP) will recruit 12 instructors for four-week summer sessions each in 2014 and 2015 to help them contextualize learning by providing real-world exposure through hands-on externships in bioscience industry/organizational settings.

Applicants will be drawn from community colleges in North Carolina and surrounding states, as well as colleges associated with Forsyth Tech through its U.S. Department of Labor-funded Community College Consortium for Bioscience Credentials.

Fellowships will start with six days of laboratory “boot camp” to familiarize participants with equipment and practices common to the bioscience industry facilities where they will spend their hands-on “externships” for the majority of the summer program. Externships will be based in the Piedmont Triad.

The third year of the grant will focus on creating a mechanism for planning and implementing the fellowship program at other institutions across the United States.

Russ Read, Executive Director of the National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce based at Forsyth Tech, is Principle Investigator on the NSF grant. Alan Beard, Chairman of the Biotechnology Department at Forsyth Tech, will be one of three biotechnology mentors for the BIFP. They will be joined on the project by colleagues from Alamance Community College and Rowan Cabarrus Community College which, like Forsyth Tech, are part of N.C. BioNetwork.

The grant is the first awarded to Forsyth Tech by the NSF, an independent agency with a $7 billion budget that funds about 20 percent of all federally supported basic research at colleges and universities in America.

Forsyth Tech’s grant is effective January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2016.