Technical University of Denmark: Large grant supports free teaching in biotechnology from DTU

In 2006, academically strong and deeply committed DTU students founded the non-profit organization Biotech Academy with the aim of offering free teaching and teaching materials in biotechnology to high schools and primary schools throughout Denmark.

“The students find it really exciting to be allowed to transform bacteria themselves, so you get students who give 110% in the lab.”
Linnea Juul Sten, Associate professor, HTX Slagelse
Today the portfolio of Biotech Academy contains no less than 33 teaching projects, six virtual laboratory exercises, 100 teaching videos, five documentaries and five experimental kits, all of which can be downloaded for free from their website www.biotechacademy.dk. In addition, a small group of especially motivated students is invited to Biotech Academy Camp, which is held once a year at DTU.

A large number of school classes have either participated in experimental exercises in the teaching laboratories at DTU or completed exercises at their home schools across the country. In 2019 the Novo Nordisk Foundation supported Biotech Academy with DKK 2.4 million and now again in 2022 with DKK 4.1 million.

Associate lecturer at HTX in Slagelse Linnea Juul Sten is very pleased that Biotech Academy has received funding to continue to offer free teaching materials. She is one of the many teachers who make diligent use of Biotech Academy’s free teaching materials. Linnea Juul Sten became acquainted with the teaching material when she herself was a high school student, and it is therefore only natural for her to use the material in her own teaching. She has no doubt that the material engages the students very well:

“Today I use several of the courses myself, either directly or as inspiration for my own courses, where I use some of the material from Biotech Academy. I use the courses about beer brewing and CRISPR in all my classes. Both cases about biosensors are ingenious. The material is easily accessible to both teacher and students, and the case is easy to wrap in several different themes for biotechnology. The students find it really exciting to be allowed to transform bacteria themselves, so you get students who give 110% in the lab, ”says Linnea Juul Sten, who is pleased to continue to be able to inspire her students with material from Biotech Academy.

Associate Professor Line Vestergaard Heuck from Aarhus Gymnasium is also happy with the teaching material from Biotech Academy, which she uses to supplement her teaching. She says:

“As a teacher, it gives me a supplement to the daily teaching and it is very good because most topics are very relevant and current. Much of the material is particularly suitable for project-oriented teaching courses. The virtual laboratory is a super good supplement to the experimental work in biotechnology – and fantastic that it is free.”

Managing Director of Biotech Academy Charlotte Høy Andersen is very pleased about feedback like these, because that is exactly what drives her and the other students in Biotech Academy:

“We are all students who are deeply passionate about life science and the difference it can make in the journey towards a more sustainable society. We are all driven to share our passion with the next generation of students and work to get even more people to choose a science education – preferably in biotechnology. ”

Charlotte Høy Andersen and her co-manager Nanna Marie Tørring are grateful for receiving the grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation and for continuing to develop free teaching material and education in collaboration with the other students in Biotech Academy. Another five teaching courses are already under development and more free teaching material will be added and thus spread the joy of biotechnology to students all over Denmark.

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