This weekend kicks off the start of the research competition season in Kansas – on Saturday, nearly 350 undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral researchers from across the region will gather at the Sheraton in Overland Park, Kansas, for the Annual Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) Symposium. K-INBRE is a federally funded program designed to strengthen our region’s pipeline of scientists and researchers by promoting the development, coordination and sharing of research resources and expertise. In layman’s terms, it means there is going to be a gaggle of amazingly brilliant students and professors gathered to talk about the amazing research they’re doing here in Kansas, and the resources and expertise that is available for collaboration.
Students researchers from 10 regional universities will be on hand at the Symposium on Saturday, and will provide two minute summaries of their research to judges throughout the afternoon poster session. Judges will be looking to identify the students with the best project, poster and presentation. As an organization that strives to bridge the gap between industry and education, BioKansas is proud to support K-INBRE by providing industry STEM professionals to help judge and by providing funds for the winning students. We also mix things up a bit by adding an additional component to the scoring rubric: commercialization. We will also be looking for the best and brightest researchers the K-INBRE schools have to offer, but, in addition, we are also looking for those students who have taken the next step in the research process. Students who have an eye toward the business of science, and are working to solve a problem or generate a product. For these students, the projects weren’t just about understanding how things work (though that type of research IS important), but about leveraging that understanding to innovate and create something that can change the world.
We’ve seen some amazingly talented students grow up right here in our own backyards. From developing a new method of diagnosing Parkinson’s Disease using simple facial recognition software to creating new ways to prevent infections in joint replacements, Kansas can claim its stake at the forefront of innovation. Registration is closed for K-INBRE this weekend, but we invite you to attend future research competitions, including others that we support such as the Capitol Graduate Research Summit, the Kansas Science & Engineering Fair and the Greater Kansas City Science & Engineering Fair, to catch a glimpse of the future of biotech and to see for yourself the incredible students and researchers being trained in Kansas and the surrounding region.