Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, a top 20 pharmaceutical company, is collaborating with the University of Connecticut to enhance scientific training, building an educational partnership that could serve as a model for other companies in the state.
Boehringer Ingelheim is providing hands-on training in their Ridgefield Chemical Development and Medicinal Chemistry Departments to some of UConn's most outstanding organic chemistry students. The Boehringer Ingelheim have helped to design and teach a course on research, which is open to all graduate students. "We believe collaboration between industry and academia is extremely valuable for training highly skilled scientists," says Chris Senanayake, vice president of chemical development for Boehringer Ingelheim. "Our goal is to enrich students' education with a practical understanding of the work taking place in our industry."
Specifically, the company is providing a five-year, $260,000 grant to support three outstanding organic chemistry students during the third, fourth, and fifth years of their Ph.D. programs. During the fourth year, the students will intern at Boehringer Ingelheim, working on challenges and solutions facing industrial chemists. During the third and fifth years of their programs, the students will work on campus as research assistants.
"Students who participate in this program will graduate with a very special degree," says Nicholas Leadbeater, associate professor of chemistry who helped develop the program. "This internship will give our students invaluable real-world experience," according to Leadbeater.
"Boehringer Ingelheim deserves great credit for increasing their support for education during tough economic times when other companies are pulling back," says Amy Howell, head of the Department of Chemistry. "The year-long internship is providing the foundation for a new type of Ph.D. experience for UConn graduate students."
-Adapted from UConn Foundation