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May 26, 2016

Drug Firm Pledges $100 Million to Back Youth Science Contest

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is committing $100 million over 10 years to fund the Science Talent Search, a long-running national math and science competition for high-school students, reports The New York Times. The drug company’s pledge is higher than the $6 million a year it had been receiving from Intel before the computer-chip maker abruptly cut its 18-year tie with the talent search in September.

The competition, run by the nonprofit Society for Science & the Public and originally backed by Westinghouse, has produced several Nobel Prize winners. Tarrytown, N.Y.-based Regeneron’s commitment includes $30 million for mentoring, application help, and other outreach to potential contestants in underserved areas.

The competition’s sponsorship history tracks broad changes in American industry, the Times notes. “It’s a sign of the times and a statement about the future that a computer company doesn’t see this as important, and a biotech company, in an industry on the eve of big breakthroughs, does,” said astrophysicist and TV personality Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is taking part in a kickoff event for the Regeneron deal at the American Museum of Natural History on Thursday.

See The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s June issue, out in print and digital editions June 1, for a survey and special report on corporate giving.