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Biogen Foundation Commits $10 Million to STEM Education in Cambridge and Somerville

January 4, 2018

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Biogen Foundation today announced a four-year, $10 million initiative to drive the development of local STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education ecosystems in Cambridge and Somerville, Massachusetts.

The Biogen Foundation’s STAR Initiative—for Science, Teacher support, Access and Resources—is intended to strengthen and support educational offerings in these cities by helping increase access to STEM resources and opportunities for students currently underrepresented in STEM college or career pathways. Through a coordinated network of grantees, STAR endeavors to help low-income students develop and sustain their interest in STEM, gain necessary STEM exposure and enrichment opportunities, and successfully transition into post-secondary education in pursuit of STEM careers.

“The Massachusetts STEM Advisory Council recently identified four priority areas to advance STEM education in the Commonwealth, including expanding work-based learning opportunities in STEM fields by building a stronger network of employers offering career exploration and immersion experiences to students,” said Massachusetts Education Secretary James Peyser. “With this significant investment, the Biogen Foundation has stepped in to strengthen those ties. We are very pleased that middle school and high school students in Cambridge and Somerville will benefit from the hands-on learning experiences and skill-building that develop from these partnerships.”

“One of the things that makes Cambridge special is the relationship between the private and public sector,” said Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern. “On behalf of the Cambridge City Council and Cambridge School Committee, I want to thank the Biogen Foundation for its generous contribution, which will make a real difference in the lives of Cambridge children.”

The Biogen Foundation will soon be soliciting proposals from nonprofits providing services in the areas of STEM access, exploration, and preparedness for students in grades 6-12. Successful applicants will partner with Cambridge and/or Somerville public schools by providing in- or out-of-school STEM awareness, exploration, and skill-building support and activities.

“Inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers is a critical endeavor for our industry and for society as a whole,” said Biogen Chief Executive Officer Michel Vounatsos. “We’re pleased to demonstrate Biogen’s commitment to education in our community through this important Biogen Foundation initiative.”

Organizations selected to receive grants will become part of a coordinated provider network managed by the Biogen Foundation. The STAR initiative is intended to complement, supplement, and strengthen the existing STEM education landscapes in Cambridge and Somerville.

“The Biogen Foundation’s STAR Initiative marks not only a significant financial investment in STEM education in our local communities, it also signals a clear commitment to equitable access and opportunity in STEM education for underrepresented students that can change the trajectory of their lives,” said Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone.

For additional information about the Biogen Foundation’s STAR Initiative and the application process, visit:

About the Biogen Foundation 
The Biogen Foundation supports access to science education and to essential human services for children and their families in the communities in which Biogen facilities are located. The Foundation is committed to sparking a passion for science and discovery, supporting effective science education initiatives, and strengthening efforts to make science education and science careers accessible to diverse populations.

The Foundation supports nonprofit organizations that focus on providing access to:

  • Hands-on science education
  • Teacher development opportunities in science
  • College readiness and support
  • Basic social needs (child hunger, poverty, and social mobility)



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