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Concordia College receives $2.5 million NSF grant for STEM scholarships

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Dr. Mark Jensen/Chemistry
Candace Harmon/Media Relations

Concordia College receives $2.5 million NSF grant for STEM scholarships 

Scholarship program partnering with biotechnology companies to expand STEM opportunities and address workforce needs


MOORHEAD, Minn. — The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Concordia College $2.5 million to prepare lower-income students for careers in biotechnology by offering significant scholarships and industry opportunities.

With the grant, the college has created the Concordia Leads: Instructing and Mentoring in Biotechnology (CLIMB) program. In fall 2024, 2025, and 2026, 12 incoming students will receive up to $15,000 annually. The scholarship can be applied on top of other scholarships to potentially cover the full cost of attending Concordia College, including room and board. It is open to academically talented students with a demonstrated financial need who are interested in pursuing careers in biotechnology. Eligible programs of study include biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental and sustainability studies, mathematics, neuroscience, physics, and pre-engineering.

The program includes mentorship at the college, research opportunities with faculty, and paid internships in the biotechnology field.

“CLIMB will allow us to take what we do best at Concordia — teaching and mentoring students — and team up with partners in the local biotechnology industry to prepare these students for careers in a field that offers tremendous opportunities both in our region and across the country,” said Dr. Mark Jensen, chemistry professor and principal investigator of the NSF grant.

Biotechnology is a multidisciplinary field that uses living cells or molecules derived from living cells in a wide array of applications, from human and animal health to food, agriculture, and the environment. Fargo-Moorhead has seen incredible growth in these industries and needs highly skilled employees to meet its needs.

Three leading biotechnology companies have partnered with Concordia for the CLIMB program:

  • Agathos Biologics, a company developing transformational science in biomanufacturing, biologic payload delivery, and cell and gene therapy
  • Aldevron, a premier manufacturing partner of high-quality plasmid DNA, mRNA, proteins, and other key components for the development of vaccines, gene and cell therapies, immunotherapies, and molecular diagnostics
  • Genovac Antibody Discovery, a contract research and manufacturing organization specializing in antibody discovery and production of new transformative drugs and diagnostics.

“Agathos Biologics is proud to support Concordia College in securing an NSF grant to empower students in STEM programs with transformative internships in the biotechnology sector,” said Mark Voigt, director of Business Development and Operations at Agathos Biologics. “These internships are invaluable, bridging the gap between academic knowledge and practical experience and preparing students for impactful careers in this rapidly growing field.”

“Aldevron looks forward to partnering with Concordia College,” said Michael Jablon, Aldevron’s senior director of Information Systems. “As the region’s largest manufacturer of biopharmaceuticals, Aldevron employs many Cobber graduates across all departments and levels of the organization and appreciates their great contributions. Through this grant, we’ll be able to inspire, mentor, and provide internship opportunities for future Concordia graduates and fully support the program’s initiatives to foster and grow STEM careers.”

"Genovac Antibody Discovery is very pleased to be an industry partner in the NSF training grant awarded to Concordia College,” said Pete Leland, vice president of Production and Characterization at Genovac. “The CLIMB program will create unique and valuable training opportunities for Concordia students – including hands-on experience in local biotechnology companies – putting them in a position to contribute to the growth of North Dakota biotechnology immediately after graduation. As industry liaisons, we recognize the profound impact this program will have on shaping the future STEM workforce, fostering innovation, and strengthening the bonds within our community. We look forward to witnessing the success stories that will undoubtedly emerge from this valuable endeavor."

Interested students can learn more and apply at


Link to downloadable classroom footage

Candace Harmon
218.299.3642  | | 901 8th St. S, Moorhead, MN 56562