Governor Deval Patrick and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center have announced $7 million in capital grants for UMass Lowell and Middlesex Community College.
Through the MLSC, Massachusetts is investing $1 billion over 10 years in the growth of the state’s life sciences supercluster. These investments are being made under the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, passed by the state Legislature and signed into law by Patrick in 2008.
“In order for Massachusetts to continue to create jobs and prosper, we must train our workers for the jobs of the 21st century global economy, and provide spaces where early-stage companies can succeed,” says Gov. Patrick. “Our innovation economy relies on a well-educated, well-skilled workforce, and these grants will expand opportunity and grow jobs in the Merrimack Valley.”
UMass Lowell has been awarded $4 million to create the Big Company/Little Company Innovation Hub where medical-device and bio-tech startup companies will benefit from the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) incubation services while receiving funding and mentoring from larger, established medical-device companies. M2D2 is a joint initiative of UMass Lowell and UMass Worcester that serves as a lifeline for medical-device entrepreneurs, providing easy, affordable and coordinated access to world-class researchers and resources. The success of medical-device companies participating in the current M2D2 ecosystem has attracted the attention of investors and larger medical-device companies. However, M2D2’s incubator is now operating at physical capacity and cannot accommodate additional startup clients. The funding will allow M2D2 to dedicate 11,000 square feet of new incubator space to medical-device and bio-tech startup companies. In addition, this will provide “soft landing” incubation space for European startup companies looking to enter the Massachusetts medical-device market.
Middlesex Community College (MCC) will receive $3 million for the purpose of constructing and equipping a new biotechnology facility to replace the college’s current, outdated facility. Comprehensive planning for the new facility was completed with the assistance of a planning grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and MCC funding. The multi-phase planning process included conforming the current and emerging workforce skills required by the life sciences industry through a workforce needs and curriculum analysis and identifying the most feasible facility option for enhancing the education and training of MCC biotechnology students through an architectural study. The proposed facility, to be located on the fifth floor of the Talbot Science Building, will include a combined lecture room and laboratory, a Class 10,000 cleanroom, gowning area, and prep room.
The addition of a cleanroom, which is not part of MCC’s current facilities along with the other proposed equipment and facilities upgrades, will significantly expand the capacity of MCC to prepare its students in the best possible way to meet the workforce needs of the life sciences industry.
Middlesex Community College President Carole Cowan says the life sciences grant will allow the college to invest in one of its burgeoning industries and to upgrade and supplement facilities that support the critical lab functions of the program. Specifically, the grant will allow for an investment of a cleanroom and combined lecture and laboratory space in its science properties.
“Working with Gov. Patrick and our legislative delegation, Middlesex has tried to respond to the evolving needs of our workforce partners, particularly in the STEM industries,” Cowan says. “Specifically, biotech in Massachusetts is one of the economic engines, and we welcome opportunities to align our college graduate preparedness with the industry clusters of our region.”
Middlesex has previously been awarded the gold level designation by the Massachusetts Life Science Education Consortium and Cowan says this investment in infrastructure will only serve to bolster the college’s offerings.
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is an investment agency that supports life sciences innovation, research, development and commercialization. The MLSC is charged with implementing a 10-year, $1 billion, state-funded investment initiative.
Release Date: March 28, 2014
Source: UMass Lowell