Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Board Approves State Funding for Project

September 27, 2012

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) announced today the approval of a $308,000 capital grant to support a research project at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst entitled “Life Sciences Research & Innovation: Growth Strategy for UMass Amherst in the Massachusetts Bioeconomy.”

The project is a formal study of opportunities to catalyze life sciences and life sciences-related economic development in Western Massachusetts. The $308,000 grant will:

  • Enable UMass Amherst to increase the breadth and depth of industry collaborations;
  • Enhance access of other stakeholders to assets at UMass Amherst and in the Pioneer Valley, such as the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute (PVLSI) in Springfield;
  • Serve as a connector to the UMass system, the Commonwealth and beyond; and
  • Catalyze the Western Massachusetts innovation ecosystem, especially in the life sciences.

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center is the agency charged with implementing the state’s 10-year, $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative, proposed by Governor Deval Patrick in 2007 and approved by the Legislature in 2008.  The Life Sciences Initiative’s enabling statute targets $95 million in capital funding  for UMass Amherst to construct an additional building within its new life sciences complex, in which the school has already invested $270 million in recent years. The data collected during the project will inform UMass Amherst’s and the Center’s future life sciences-related investment plans in the region, including the building that is targeted for funding in the Initiative.  The study will be conducted by a third party selected through an RFP process.

A leading center of public higher education in the Northeast, UMass Amherst has a reputation of excellence in a growing number of fields due to its wide and varied academic offerings, as well as for its expanding roles in education, research and public service. UMass Amherst also has a broad and diverse range of life sciences research assets, including expertise and facilities, which can be leveraged to foster a thriving bioeconomy in western Massachusetts.

"Governor Patrick and I want to see positive development within the life sciences industry for Western Massachusetts," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.  "With this planning grant, the information gathered will inform our strategy for life sciences growth in the region and further strengthen our state's global leadership in this important field."

“As we pursue our mission of accelerating growth in Massachusetts’ thriving life sciences supercluster we are very focused on making investments across the entire Commonwealth, including the western part of the state,” said Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., President & CEO of the MLSC.  “UMass Amherst is an important partner in that effort, and we are pleased to award this funding to support their forward-looking plans for life sciences growth in the region.”

“UMass Amherst is the flagship campus of the UMass system and already a major producer of talent and innovation for the Pioneer Valley and the Commonwealth,'' said UMass President Robert L. Caret.  “We're pleased to see both the Patrick-Murray Administration and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center's support for this strategic effort to help further develop and strengthen the campus's role in the life sciences -- especially in terms of university-industry partnerships and development of the bio-economy.''

“We are very pleased to receive this support from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, and we’re excited to engage all of our stakeholders in this study to ensure that our life science strategy and plans have maximum impact,” said UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy.



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