Inspiring future innovation: How Amgen does corporate social responsibility
Brid O’Connell of Guaranteed Irish presents the Corporate Social Responsibility Programme of the Year award to Laoise O’Murchu and Ian Boyle of Amgen. Image: Amgen

Inspiring future innovation: How Amgen does corporate social responsibility

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The Amgen Foundation’s science education programmes in Ireland have directly benefited 533 life sciences teachers and brought subjects to life for more than 59,000 secondary-school students.

Amgen and the Amgen Foundation inspire the next generation of innovators by funding evidence-based science education programmes at every level, from the local secondary school to the world’s premier educational institutions.

It’s all part of Amgen’s commitment to fuel science innovation and create a brighter, healthier future for all.

Amgen was the winner of the Chambers Ireland Multinational Community Programme award this year for its work in science education. The award is designed to inspire the next generation of innovators by supporting the professional development of secondary-school science teachers and increasing students’ scientific literacy and interest in scientific careers.

Speaking about the win, Rayne Waller, vice-president of regional manufacturing, and site head at Amgen Dún Laoghaire, said: “The Amgen Foundation in Ireland has committed €600,000 to developing three science education programmes: Amgen Scholars, Amgen Biotech Experience and Amgen Teach.

“We’ve been blown away by the impact of these programmes, which have reached 59,000 students in Ireland.

“We are very proud of the positive contribution these programmes are making to inspire the next generation’s interest in science.”

As one of the world’s leading independent biotechnology companies, Amgen unlocks the power of biology to help improve the lives of patients. Amgen attracts the best scientific staff who bring a passion for science and discovery. It is therefore uniquely positioned to use its skills to encourage young students’ interest in science.

The Amgen Foundation leverages the skills and expertise of the Irish Amgen workforce based in Dún Laoghaire and Santry to support its three science education programmes.

Speaking about the programmes, Eduardo Cetlin, president of the Amgen Foundation, explained: “To ensure our commitments have the most impact, we started by asking, ‘How can we make sure that students have access to the strongest possible opportunities to experience real-world science and careers?’

“Our research findings led us to develop a suite of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education initiatives: Amgen Biotech Experience, Amgen Teach and Amgen Scholars.”

Amgen Biotech Experience provides teachers with professional development in biotechnology as well as teaching materials and research-grade lab equipment, so that they can conduct biotechnology experiments with their students.

Amgen Teach provides training workshops to build secondary-school teachers’ skills and confidence in enquiry-based learning.

Amgen Scholars provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to complete eight to 10 weeks of research in the world’s leading educational institutions. It offers young scientists access to cutting-edge research experiences as well as exposure to biotechnology and drug discovery.

About 34 undergraduates have participated in the Amgen Scholars programme so far. 95pc of the programme’s alumni who have completed their undergraduate studies are pursuing an advanced degree or career in a scientific field.

Hands-on experience

The three Amgen Foundation programmes in Ireland have impacted 59,000 secondary school students, directly benefited 533 life sciences teachers and provided 5,939 secondary school students with hands-on biotechnology experience.

Speaking about the benefit of the programmes, Scott Heimlich, vice-president of the Amgen Foundation, said: “It’s no surprise that when students become fascinated by science, that enthusiasm can be contagious.

“From our research, we know students crave hands-on biology experiences that are often lacking in the classroom.

“The Amgen Foundation is on a mission to help more students catch the science bug, by introducing them to the thrill of scientific discovery and the experiences of actual working scientists.”

Meanwhile, independent research on the Amgen Biotech Experience programme demonstrated that 82pc of students were introduced to new ideas about what happens in science labs and 72pc of students heard new ideas on what science is. It also found that 53pc of students are more interested in learning about science research, with the same figure reporting increased interest in science careers from participation in the programme.

Speaking about staff support of the programmes, Dr Laoise O’Murchu, who works in corporate affairs at Amgen, explained: “Our people are passionate about science. Scientific expertise is in our DNA.

“Our staff know what can be achieved when people discover a passion for science and they are excited to support our evidence-based initiatives that make a difference at a local, national and international level.

“Scientific discovery and innovation are critical to the success of Amgen and the biotechnology industry. The industry depends upon a highly skilled scientific workforce.

“We in Amgen believe that we have a responsibility to inspire and prepare the next generation of scientists. The Amgen Foundation’s science education programmes are one way of fulfilling this charge.”

Dr Laoise O’Murchu is a public affairs lecturer at Dublin Institute of Technology and works in corporate affairs at Amgen.

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