Intel opens its wallet for science

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Intel opens its wallet for science

Chipmaker Intel has launched a new program in hopes of training young engineers. The company said today that it would be spending some US$120 million over the next ten years as part of a program to improve science and math education.

The money will be spent primarily on the company's Science Talent Search and International Science and Engineering Fair programmes.

The US-based Science Talent Search contest dates back to 1942, but has seen waning interest in recent years, with just 19 states participating in 2007. The contest allows students to construct research projects with the finalists winning a trip to Washington DC to present in front of professional scientists.

Intel hopes that the injection of cash will allow the program to expand its reach and bring new schools into the contest.

The International Science and Engineering Fair will use the money to expand its reach overseas. The company estimates that only 30 per cent of the fair's attendees are from other countries. Intel plans to sponsor the creation of an online community which will allow students and past participants to network with one another.

"I can't think of a more critical time to invest in math and science education," said Intel vice president and corporate affairs general manager Will Swope.

"We will work with districts, schools and teachers around the world to help get students excited and engaged in math and science, subjects that provide the foundation for innovation."

Intel's efforts point to what has become a growing concern in the computing field. Many companies are finding that dwindling interest in math and science is leaving fewer students prepared for careers in the IT field.

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