The Vertex Scholars program marks one of our first philanthropic commitments to science education. We started the program in 2006 to provide no-strings-attached research support for qualified Ph.D. students at top academic institutes in many of the areas where we have research and development sites.
To ensure that students in a wide variety of scientific disciplines receive funding, we ask that participating departments select outstanding students within the departments of Chemistry, Biology or Pharmaceutical Sciences. Over the last six years, Vertex Scholars grants to Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, University of California, Irvine, Oregon Health & Science University and Oxford University have provided research support to 30 Ph.D. students. This allows Vertex Scholars to spend more time focused on their research instead of working as teaching or research assistants to support their graduate studies.
As we believe that collaboration and the open exchange of ideas are important to advance scientific discovery, we structured the Vertex Scholars program to encourage informal dialogue between our scientists and the graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty members connected to the program. One example of this is “Vertex Day” where we sponsor a day of on-campus meetings to facilitate discussion between our scientists and the Scholars, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. These one-on-one meetings allow for personalized conversation topics, ranging from shared scientific challenges to advice on what the students can expect if they pursue a career in the biotechnology industry. The day generally commences with a keynote address by a distinguished academic in the field.
“I’ve had the privilege of meeting many of these students, and each time, I’m impressed with their maturity, sophistication and insights into many very challenging scientific issues,” said Peter Mueller, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President of Global Research and Development at Vertex. “Being able to connect with the next generation of scientists and discuss their work is a unique and rewarding experience and helps further many highly innovative research projects.”