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National Science Foundation grants $2.5M to UPR researchers

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded a group of researchers from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, a $2.5 million grant to launch the Research and Mentoring for Post-bachelor’s in Biological Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico (RAMP-UP) program.

RAMP-UP will be aimed at students who have completed their bachelor’s degree in the last five years or who will complete it in May 2023 and have not continued graduate or professional studies. Each year 10 students, who must be interested in conducting research in biology or associated disciplines, may participate in the program, university officials said.

“During their college careers, many students have direct experiences with scientific research. These experiences tend to pique the interest of students and are often decisive events in making decisions about whether to continue a professional career in the field of science and technology,” said José E. García-Arrarás, biologist, researcher, and co-director of RAMP-UP.

“Sadly, in the past few years, the ability to participate in this type of experience has been limited around the world by the transition to remote instruction due to COVID-19,” he said. In Puerto Rico, other disruptive agents are added, including earthquakes, hurricanes, and the economic crisis.”

“This has caused many Puerto Rican students to have completed their bachelor’s degree without being able to participate and enjoy the benefits of research experiences,” he added.

As part of the program, students will gain research experience, exposure to multiple cutting-edge scientific topics, and receive mentorship and help on the path to graduate study and careers in science and technology. In addition, participants will receive a stipend for their participation.

The first group of students will be selected in February and March 2023 and will start in June 2023.

“[This is] a unique opportunity, for students who have already completed their degree and need more time or help to get on track for future studies, this is an excellent opportunity,” said Juan S. Ramírez Lugo, professor of the Department of Biology at the UPR’s School of Natural Sciences, and co-director of RAMP-UP.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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