Futurelab+ aims to increase the number and diversity of students receiving a quality high school biotechnology 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 biotechnology 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 biotechnology 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 imagining the full breadth of biotechnology careers they might pursue.

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. Futurelab+ aims to reach two million more high schoolers across the 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 biotechnology 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 biotechnology education more equitably across underserved schools. First, there is the Educator Community of Practice, which is open to all teachers nationwide. It supports the use of Futurelab+ curriculum and offers resources to help teachers engage students from a range of racial, ethnic, cultural, linguistic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Another offering is the Futurelab+ Professional Learning Community, which currently prioritizes teachers in low-income Title 1 public high schools in California, providing them with targeted professional development, lab equipment, stipends and opportunities to connect with biotechnology industry professionals.
  • The Futurelab+ Volunteer Network: To enhance the curriculum, the Futurelab+ Volunteer Network connects biotechnology professionals at Genentech with teachers and students. Volunteers visit classrooms virtually or in person to illustrate the real-world applications of biotechnology concepts and expose students to the full range of career opportunities available to them in science and medicine.

See how educators are using the Futurelab+ curriculum and associated resources to facilitate important biotechnology lessons in the classroom.

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.