UMass receives $308,000 grant from Massachusetts Life Science Center

By Katie Landeck

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The University of Massachusetts has received a $308,000 grant from the Massachusetts Life Science Center to research market opportunities for life sciences in western Massachusetts, according to a University press release.

The goal of the grant is to “increase the breadth and depth of industry collaborations” by working with community stakeholders, such as the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute in Springfield, and helping to connect UMass to other potential assets and stakeholders.

“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,” Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said in the release.

A third party chosen through a Request for Proposals process will conduct the study, according to the release.

The grant – formally titled “Life Sciences Research & Innovation: Growth Strategy for UMass Amherst in the Massachusetts Bioeconomy” – also aims to help create an “innovation ecosystem” within the valley, specifically focusing on the bioeconomy.

Bioeconomy is the economic activity associated with molecular and genetic research.

“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,” UMass President Robert Caret said in the release.

The grant is part of a 10-year, $1 billion life sciences initiative approved by the state in June of 2008 to support life science research and create jobs within the industry.

UMass was targeted for the grant due to its expertise and facilities in the field, according to the release. UMass has invested $270 million into the construction of such facilities in recent years.

“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,” Susan Windham-Bannister, the president of the Massachusetts Life Science Center, said in the release.

The data collected during the study will be used to help UMass and the Massachusetts Life Science Center plan their future investment strategies in the region.

Katie Landeck can be reached at [email protected].