Launched in 2022, Futurelab+ aims to increase the number and diversity of students receiving a quality high school biotech education by offering a free, equity-centered curriculum designed by and for teachers. The industry- and standards-aligned curriculum provides educators with classroom resources and professional development and embeds biotech professionals in classrooms to help students better understand the real-world applications of what they’re learning and gain exposure to the variety of career options available within the industry.

Just 35% of U.S. high schools offer biotech as part of their curricula, and most of the schools that do are located in higher-income districts.1 This limits the potential for students – especially those from low-income schools and communities historically underrepresented in STEM – to gain the exposure, skills and experiences that can eventually lead to well-paid careers in science and medicine. In addition, high school science classes often focus on lab-based activities and rarely cover the full product development life cycle, which prevents students from understanding and experiencing the breadth of careers they might pursue across the biotech industry.

To address these challenges, we’ve invested an additional $10 million to create Futurelab+, an initiative to scale the impact of our successful South San Francisco-based Futurelab science education partnership. Building on our more than $35 million investment in South San Francisco schools since 2015, Futurelab+ aims to reach two million more high schoolers across the SF Bay Area, California and beyond by 2026 with innovative resources and tools, including:

  • The Futurelab+ Curriculum: The centerpiece of Futurelab+ is a new, industry- and standards-aligned high school biotech curriculum written by and for teachers. The curriculum covers two years of instruction combining the latest scientific concepts across the full product life cycle – from molecule discovery to medicine development, manufacturing and delivery – and includes hands-on labs that are easy to execute without expensive equipment. Lessons feature interactive resources, career exploration tools, and groundbreaking content addressing health equity and the importance of advancing inclusivity and representation in clinical research – both key focus areas for Genentech and critical issues to introduce to young people contemplating careers in STEM. The modular and flexible curriculum is free to teachers across the U.S. – an innovative open-source approach that can serve as a model for other education and industry initiatives to build on.
  • Educator Support: Futurelab+ provides professional development opportunities and resources to high school science teachers to help strengthen and scale biotech education more equitably across underserved schools.

    The Educator Community of Practice, open to all teachers nationwide, provides a platform for teachers to share resources for implementing the Futurelab+ curriculum with students from a range of racial, ethnic, cultural, linguistic and socioeconomic backgrounds. It also gives teachers access to an online community and virtual teacher events where they can connect with fellow educators for support, ideas and inspiration.

    Another offering is the Futurelab+ Professional Learning Community, which currently prioritizes teachers in low-income Title I public high schools in California, providing them with stipends, lab equipment and supplies, and opportunities to connect with biotech industry volunteers. It also offers comprehensive in-person professional development opportunities each summer through partnerships with the American Institutes for Research (AIR), BABEC, and Ignited. Through the program, teachers receive hands-on lab training and support to integrate the Futurelab+ curriculum into their lesson plans and draw deeper connections between the curriculum and real-life biotech industry practices and careers.
  • The Futurelab+ Volunteer Network: To enhance the curriculum, the Futurelab+ Volunteer Network connects biotech professionals at Genentech with teachers and students. Volunteers visit classrooms virtually to illustrate the real-world applications of biotech concepts and help students explore the full range of career opportunities available to them in science and medicine.

Since launching in September 2022, the Futurelab+ biotech curriculum has already helped teachers reach more than 627,000 high school students, including 60% from low-income Title I schools.

See how educators are using the Futurelab+ curriculum and associated resources to facilitate important biotech lessons in the classroom, and flip through the slideshow below for photos and perspectives from teachers who have participated in Futurelab+ professional development programs.

Our Partnerships


1 Asking the Wrong Questions About American Science Education: Insights from a Longitudinal Study of High School Biotechnology Lab Instruction. https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.11.29.470152v1.full.