One of the numerous modestly-sized projects running under the auspices of the SENS Foundation is their Academic Initiative: helping to bring more life science undergraduate and postgraduate students into contact with the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence, encourage them to become biogerontologists and build a career on the defeat of aging, and get them working on one of the many needed research projects that form the foundation of rejuvenation biotechnology. Science at the cutting edge takes place at many levels, from projects that can be funded with less than ten thousand dollars and three months of student time all the way up to the big hundred million dollar lab proposals. As biotechnology becomes ever cheaper and more capable, the number of significant projects and project components that can be funded at low cost and carried out successfully by graduate students grows larger by the month.
The future of life science is many more smaller projects: a huge number of tasks to be accomplished, and technologies that make each individual task small in comparison to the labor that would have been required in previous decades. Advanced life science students should be out there making connections and accomplishing meaningful tasks - helping to advance the state of knowledge and biotechnology, not just learning and recapitulating. It's well within their capabilities, and, thanks to progress in technology, it's now also well within the appropriate budget. Programs like the SENS Foundation Academic Initiative will grow in number and become more important across the board in the life sciences.
The Academic Initiative launched a new website recently:
Welcome to the SENS Foundation Academic Initiative's new website. In addition to containing more comprehensive information about the Initiative and what it does, this site offers a number of new features, including a listing outreach projects and a searchable database of member profiles. The site leaves plenty of room for the Initiative to grow into, thanks to its new committee pages, its new media section, and its more streamlined navigation.
The single greatest feature of this new website -- an extension and enhancement of an overlooked, underused feature of our previous site -- is its ability to offer our members their own spaces. Each research project, outreach project, and volunteer committee has its own updatable page, so that people who are part of any given project or committee can edit and care for their own corner of our site.
If you wander over to the projects section, you'll see lists of available projects and ongoing projects. If this sort of thing interests you, it's worth remembering that the SENS Foundation makes modest grants in connection with the Academic Initiative:
The SENS Foundation Academic Initiative is pleased to announce that it will be awarding up to $30,000 in materials grants in 2012. These grants are available to undergraduate, graduate, and medical students, and may be used to cover the cost of laboratory materials for aging- and rejuvenation-related research projects. A typical grant will range from $500-$2000, but grants of up to $5000 may be awarded for group projects. These grants are meant to provide students with valuable experience in research and leadership, and to help set recipients on the course to a career in SENS-related research.