What is RISE?
RISE is a special research program in the sciences for undergraduates at Drew University. RISE, or the Research Institute of Scientists Emeriti, is the only program of its kind, not found in any other university in the United States. It is staffed by retired researchers from industry who conduct state-of-the-art research with Drew students. All members of RISE are highly accomplished in their disciplines, which include microbiology, chemistry, biochemistry, physics, and statistics. Two are members of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. William Campbell is the 2015 recipient of the Nobel Prize in medicine. We have modern laboratories and scientific instrumentation, including LC/MS, GC/MS, HPLC, and cell and high-field NMR. RISE is unique: no other school has such a program although many have talked about creating one.
How did RISE arise?
Drew Professor Emeritus, James Miller, when he was Chair of the Chemistry Department, had the initial inspiration. Jim observed that Northern New Jersey has a plentiful supply of research-oriented companies, especially in the pharmaceutical and telecommunications industries. He realized that Drew was strategically located to attract talented researchers from these companies when they retired.
In 1979, George deStevens, who had been Executive Vice President and Director of Research at Ciba-Geigy, joined the Drew faculty and later became the Founding Director of RISE. He was instrumental in raising over $1,000,000 for construction of office and laboratory space for RISE.
Who are the RISE students?
RISE has mentored well over 350 undergraduate science students since its inception. Some are able to begin research as early as their freshman year. Others may start by participating in Drew’s popular Summer Science Institute. Many are able to turn their research into Honors Theses in their senior year. Whenever possible, students present their research results at professional meetings and publish them in peer-reviewed journals. RISE students have an enviable record of being admitted to top-notch Ph.D. programs and medical, dental, and veterinary schools.
How does RISE interact with industry?
Members of RISE not only maintain their natural ties with former employers but also cultivate new ones as opportunities present themselves. We encourage students to undertake internships with local companies, and we welcome the chance to collaborate on research where it would be mutually advantageous. Historically, RISE has benefitted enormously from corporate donations of surplus equipment for our laboratories. Other examples include visitor exchanges and shared seminars. For the past 30 years we have organized and hosted the Residential School on Medicinal Chemistry for professionals from the pharmaceutical industry. About 4,000 people from around the world have attended during this long period.