Framingham, MA – Governor Deval Patrick and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) recently announced more than $3 million in grants to support life-sciences-related capital projects in the MetroWest region, including $3 million for Framingham State University to fund major lab renovation projects.
Through the MLSC, Massachusetts is investing $1 billion over 10 years in the growth of the state’s life sciences ecosystem. These investments are being made under the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, proposed by Governor Patrick in 2007, and passed by the State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Patrick in 2008. To date the MLSC has awarded more than $330 million to support life sciences-related capital projects across the state, creating thousands of jobs and more than 1.3 million square feet of new education, research and manufacturing space.
“Supporting innovation propels our economy forward and prepares our workers for the 21st century global marketplace,” said Governor Patrick. “Our innovation economy relies on a well-educated, well-skilled workforce, and these grants will expand opportunity and grow jobs in the MetroWest region.”
The $3 million grant awarded to Framingham State University will fund laboratory renovations to support Life Sciences workforce development and training, as well as research and development. FSU intends to utilize the lab expansion and renovation to provide additional biology and chemistry teaching and research laboratories, to enhance their capacity to support STEM academic programs and meet workforce readiness goals, and to upgrade existing infrastructure.
“We know that Massachusetts companies are in need of highly educated science and math graduates,” said interim FSU President Robert Martin. “The Hemenway Hall expansion and renovation project will have a transformative impact on the University’s STEM programs by providing our students and faculty with access to state-of-the-art science classrooms and laboratories. This generous grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center is the final piece of the puzzle that will allow us to complete the project as we envisioned it several years ago.”
MassBay Community College will receive a $50,000 planning grant to develop a robust strategic action plan for the Applied Life Sciences and Technology Center (ALSTC) housed within the downtown Framingham campus that is currently in its design phase utilizing a $22.1 million state capital appropriation. The ALSCT presents a unique and catalytic opportunity to establish downtown Framingham as a MetroWest hub for start-up life sciences companies. The campus will offer associate degree programs across applied/ industrial biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals, device design and manufacturing, computational science, and biomedical engineering, with faculty providing support to life sciences entrepreneurs. The synergy of life sciences Associate degree programs, expert faculty and internship-ready students will provide an innovative environment to support life sciences entrepreneurs.
“We are grateful to Governor Patrick and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center for their support of our vision of a new Applied Sciences and Technology Center for downtown Framingham,” said MassBay Community College President John O’Donnell. “Establishing this Center on a brand new MassBay campus will enable us to expand life sciences partnerships and establish solid pipelines from high school to college, to the workforce.”
In addition to the grants announced today, three MetroWest-area high schools were authorized this past December to receive equipment and supply grants from the MLSC: Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School ($40,000), Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School ($100,000) and Waltham High School ($100,000).
“A key strategy of the Life Sciences Center is to use our capital dollars to enable the creation of unique resources that are available to the Massachusetts life sciences community, and this innovate project at Framingham State University and the planning that is underway at MassBay Community College are great examples of that,” said Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., President & CEO of the MLSC. “State universities and community colleges, like Framingham State University and MassBay Community College, and the three high schools we are recognizing today play major roles in training the next generation of our state’s life sciences workforce, and they ensure that training for innovation economy jobs is inclusive and available all across the state. Our grants help ensure that these schools can provide students with first-rate training facilities.”
“The life sciences sector is key to future job growth and economic development, and these grants will drive MetroWest forward as a leader in biotech education and research,” said Senator Karen Spilka. “These two important projects at Framingham State and MassBay are preparing students to join the STEM and life sciences workforce and are terrific examples of innovative research and entrepreneurship in our community.”
“These two grants to Framingham State University and MassBay Community College in Framingham will greatly enhance the MetroWest’s commitment to the life sciences. It’s an incredible commitment from the Commonwealth to assure our continued leadership in the Biotech field and strong employment in the life sciences,” said Representative Chris Walsh.