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For the first time, Amgen Foundation grant offers Canadian undergraduate students the opportunity to gain hands-on research experience with world-leading U of T researchers

Toronto, ON (June 6, 2019) -- Fifteen undergraduate students from across Canada arrived at the University of Toronto (U of T) this week, marking the launch of the Amgen Scholars Canada Program.

A fully-funded, 10-week research program, the Amgen Scholars Program offers undergraduate students the opportunity to engage in cutting-edge research, be mentored by some of U of T’s world-renowned scientists, and deepen their understanding of medical biotechnology. This is the first time the Amgen Scholars program has been offered in Canada.

“We are pleased and proud to welcome students from across the country to the University of Toronto and the inaugural Amgen Scholars Canada program,” says Professor Vivek Goel, University of Toronto’s vice-president of research and innovation. “Bringing together exceptional students with world-class mentors offers a tremendous opportunity for collaboration, innovation and discovery. We are excited to help unleash the potential of these future innovators and scientists.”

The goal of the program is to increase learning and networking opportunities for students committed to pursuing a career in science or engineering. Participating students will be immersed in leading biomedical research at U of T’s Faculty of Medicine and Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. Activities aim to inspire and equip a new generation of health leaders and innovative researchers.

“We are delighted that the Amgen Foundation continues to encourage leadership in science by nurturing the passion of the next generation of leaders in biomedical sciences and drawing on the depth of talent in Canada,” says Dr. Ponda Motsepe-Ditshego, executive medical director, Amgen Canada. “When we offer students research opportunities they may not have elsewhere, we open new doors and inspire new thinking and that is a tremendous accomplishment.”

Recognizing that inclusion, diversity and equity are essential components that foster excellence in 21st century science and health outcomes, a key focus of the U of T Amgen Scholars Canada Program is to actively engage motivated students who might face barriers to careers in science and medicine, whether due to socioeconomic status, geographical location, or belonging to historically marginalized groups.

“Investing in young scientists through programs like Amgen Scholars is key to tackling some of our most challenging global issues,” says Eduardo Cetlin, president, Amgen Foundation. “We are proud to work with the University of Toronto and other premier institutions around the world building upon our mission to advance excellence in science education and empower tomorrow’s innovative problem solvers.”


Since its inception in 2006, the Amgen Scholars Program has made research opportunities at premier institutions possible for more than 4,000 undergraduate students from over 700 colleges and universities who have participated to date.

Of those alumni who have completed their undergraduate studies, nearly 900 are currently pursuing an advanced graduate degree in a scientific field, and another 280 have earned their Ph.D. or M.D.-Ph.D. More than 500 are employed in scientific fields across 33 countries, with 99 percent of surveyed alumni saying the program impacted their academic or professional direction.

Amgen Scholars is now hosted at 24 top institutions across the U.S., Europe, Asia, and for the first time in 2019, China, Singapore, Australia and Canada. The Amgen Foundation will commit more than $21 million to the Amgen Scholars Program through 2022, totaling a $74 million investment over 16 years.

About the University of Toronto

Established in 1827, the University of Toronto (U of T) is Canada’s largest university, recognized as a global leader in research and teaching.  The university consistently ranks among the top 25 universities in the world. Its distinguished faculty, institutional record of groundbreaking scholarship and wealth of innovative academic opportunities continually attract outstanding academics and students from around the world and across its three campuses. Known for the discovery of insulin, stem cells, the first electronic heart pacemaker and first lung transplant, U of T is the research and educational hub within one of North America’s largest biomedical clusters.

About the Amgen Foundation

The Amgen Foundation seeks to advance excellence in science education to inspire the next generation of innovators and to invest in strengthening communities where Amgen staff members live and work. To date, the Foundation has donated over $300 million to local, regional and international nonprofit organizations that impact society in inspiring and innovative ways. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter at @AmgenFoundation.

About Amgen Canada

As a leader in innovation, Amgen Canada understands the value of science. With main operations located in Mississauga, Ont.'s vibrant biomedical cluster, and its research facility in Burnaby, B.C., Amgen Canada has been an important contributor to advancements in science and innovation in Canada since 1991. The company contributes to the development of new therapies and new uses for existing medicines in partnership with many of Canada's leading health-care, academic, research, government and patient organizations. To learn more about Amgen Canada, visit