News from Montgomery College

900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 

Date: June 29, 2004 (04-61)

Montgomery College Wins Prestigious Grant from
National Science Foundation
$600K Grant to Support Development of Biotechnology Education and Training, Bioscience Business Park at Germantown Campus 

Montgomery College recently received a prestigious Partnerships for Innovation grant from the National Science Foundation to support the development of a world-class biotechnology education and training program that will serve students at all levels.  The grant will work in conjunction with the planned bioscience and technology business park at the Germantown Campus, providing Montgomery College with $600,000 over the next three years.  Montgomery College, located in Montgomery County, Maryland, is one of only two community colleges nationwide to receive the NSF grant.

            “Montgomery College is honored to have been chosen as the recipient of a National Science Foundation grant,” said Dr. Charlene Nunley, president of Montgomery College.  “This truly would not have been possible without the support of our education, government, non-profit, venture capital, and corporate partners.  The grant will assist us in establishing our Germantown Campus as a world-class site for biotechnology education and training that will serve students and businesses.” 

For the Partnerships in Innovation grant proposal, Montgomery College received support from Montgomery County Public Schools; and the University of Maryland, College Park; Montgomery County Department of Economic Development; Toucan Capital Corporation and Emerging Growth Technology Partners, LLC, two Montgomery County-based venture capital firms;  MdBio, a non-profit biotechnology support organization; MedImmune, Inc.; GenVec; RRD International, Inc.; Celera Genomics; and BioReliance Corporation.

With the National Science Foundation grant, Montgomery College will expand its bioscience career camps designed for ninth and tenth grade high school students.  Since the camps are offered at the College, students see first hand the connection between high school, college, and the workplace.  At camp, students learn about various careers in bioscience and get hands-on experience working with DNA and bacteria. 

The grant will enable the College to continue its collaboration with Montgomery County Public Schools by creating an Upcounty Biotech Academy for high school students on the College’s Germantown Campus.  The academy will offer high-achieving students the opportunity to take a unique mix of high school and college-level courses in preparation for a career in the biosciences.  Ultimately, students would take half of their courses at their home high school and the rest of the courses – accelerated math and science – at the College.

At the middle school level, Montgomery College will work towards the creation of a summer training program for teachers.  The training aims to educate teachers about the advances in biotechnology, knowing that prepared teachers are essential to inspire students in the classroom.  Grant funding will go towards the summer instruction, as well as stipends for participating middle school teachers and supplies.  

With grant funds, Montgomery College will work with the University of Maryland, College Park to offer upper level biosciences courses at the Germantown Campus, enabling students to complete a baccalaureate degree without leaving Montgomery County.  This opportunity will support the construction of the planned academic building, the BioScience Education Center, shared by Montgomery College and the University of Maryland.  This baccalaureate degree on-campus program would supplement the articulation agreements already in place with Towson University and the University of Maryland University College.

Through the College’s Macklin Center for Entrepreneurship, Montgomery College currently provides business training to National Institutes of Health post-doctorates.  Grant funds will be used to expand this training program to include other scientists, biotechnology and life sciences professionals.   Discussion is currently underway to design a business certificate program for post-doctoral scientists in  collaboration with a local four-year university. 

Additionally, the grant will pay for professional development in biosciences and the creation of a distinguished speaker series. 

The grant complements plans already underway to build the Germantown Life Sciences and Technology Park at the College’s Germantown Campus.  The 40-acre technology park is designed to meet the needs of new and established bioscience and technology businesses.  Along with office and wet lab space, the business park will have a technology business incubator operated by Montgomery County.  Montgomery College is in the final stages of choosing a real estate developer to finance and construct the Life Sciences and Technology Park.  Design of the accompanying Bioscience Education Center is slated to begin in 2006, with construction scheduled for completion by 2010. 

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park, plus workforce development and continuing education centers in Gaithersburg, Wheaton and  Silver Spring. The College serves nearly 50,000 students a year, through both credit and non-credit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.