Opentrons announces robotics education initiative

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school robotics
Photo: Vasiliu Gabriel/Pixabay

Opentrons Labworks, Inc., which provides lab automation and makers of accessible lab robotics, has announced the launch of Opentrons for Education, an offering for educators to bring lab automation to the classroom.

Opentrons is building a first-of-its-kind ecosystem for teaching with automation, which includes education pricing and support, along with access to a community of educators already teaching with Opentrons. The company said its goal is to make lab automation a universal skill.

Bringing lab automation to the classroom gives students a competitive advantage for their careers by addressing the growing skill gap faced by biotech companies. Opentrons for Education is the key to unlocking a new era of hands-on, innovative learning in the realm of laboratory sciences.

“The life sciences industry has been slow to adopt lab automation due to the precision required to manipulate precious samples and reagents at millilitre and microlitre volumes, and the lack of skilled personnel to introduce automated workflows into labs. To address this hesitation, we created Opentrons for Education, signifying our commitment to making automation simpler and training the next generation of scientists in lab automation, equipping them with the skills they need to thrive in tomorrow’s biotech landscape,” said Jonathan Brennan-Badal, CEO of Opentrons.

Opentrons robots are already used in education settings in universities and research institutes, including MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, J. Craig Venter Institute, University College London, Colorado State University, and Virginia Tech. 

Joshua Kangas, assistant teaching professor, co-director of M.S. in Automated Science Program, Computational Biology Department at Carnegie Mellon University said: “This initiative underscores Opentrons’ commitment to shaping the future of laboratory automation education for aspiring scientists. They have heavily invested resources into supporting this effort to reach a broad range of students across different levels of education. I expect this effort will have significant positive long-term effects in academia and industry as this effort enables students to learn about and use laboratory automation from a young age compared to what is currently practiced.”

“When mentoring students in the lab, I’m often faced with the challenge of spending their limited time on pipetting skills rather than more substantive scientific learning. With the Opentrons OT-2 robot, my students have been able to quickly learn about automating otherwise rote processes and dig into their project work. They now have more time for research design and data analysis. The students are excited and productivity is up. We are grateful to be among the first to benefit from Opentrons’ education programme,” said Yo Suzuki, associate professor, J. Craig Venter Institute.

About Opentrons for Education

Opentrons for Education is a first-of-its-kind initiative to bring laboratory automation to the classroom. This includes exclusive discounts for educators to meet classroom budgets. Opentrons provides educators with support for robot setup, ensuring rapid onboarding. The participating community educators share experiences, recommendations, and lesson plans, making it faster and easier to incorporate automation into the curriculum. Educators around the world are already leading the way to teach automation to students, giving their students a leg up in their careers.

Key features and benefits of Opentrons for Education include: exclusive educator pricing; access to the community of educators teaching with Opentrons; and setup support from the Opentrons field applications team.

Jim Cornall is editor of Deeptech Digest and publisher at Ayr Coastal Media. He is an award-winning writer, editor, photographer, broadcaster, designer and author. Contact Jim here.