CU-Boulder’s Biological Sciences Initiative (BSI), envisions scientific literacy among all citizens, increasing their understanding of the relevance of science to their lives and empowering them to make informed health, environmental and political choices. To promote diversity and inclusiveness in the sciences and scientific literacy for all, BSI provides research, classroom, and professional development experiences at many levels, while particularly serving those with limited opportunities and/or from groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences.
BSI began in 1989 with a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). BSI has successfully competed for six subsequent HHMI grants, the most recent awarded in 2014. Collectively, the prestigious and keenly competitive HHMI grants have provided $13 million to support CU-Boulder’s life science education programs. CU-Boulder’s commitment to science education is demonstrated by significant matching support to the HHMI grants, including support from CU-Boulder’s Chancellor, Provost, Vice Chancellor for Research, Dean of the Graduate School, Dean of Arts and Sciences, and the department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.
CU Boulder’s BSI was one of only 37 institutions to be awarded an HHMI grant during the most recent competition (out of 171 research university applicants). This HHMI grant, in the amount of $1.5 million and awarded in August 2014, allows innovations in undergraduate science curriculum and research opportunities, with specific focus on the first two years of college. While the emphasis is biological sciences, BSI supports interdisciplinary efforts across the sciences and thus serves CU-Boulder students and faculty from many departments.