AMHERST, Mass. – Legislation signed today by Governor Charlie Baker will provide nearly $463 million in capital and reauthorize a tax incentive program to continue to grow Massachusetts’ life sciences industry. Included in the capital authorizations is $47 million for UMass Amherst to build and equip a Biotechnology and Precision Manufacturing (BPM) research and training facility.
“This legislation will greatly benefit the Massachusetts economy and provide exciting new opportunities for our students to prepare for successful careers in the life sciences,” said UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy. “This is yet another aspect of partnership with the state to position the Commonwealth and its citizens for success in the 21st century economy.”
UMass Amherst awards more undergraduate degrees in the STEM fields than any other college or university in the Commonwealth. Since more than 60 percent of the university’s graduates live and work in Massachusetts, UMass Amherst supplies more STEM talent to the state’s workforce than any other institution.
The legislation extends a capital authorization and tax incentive program that was set to expire at the end of 2018. The original legislation helped establish Massachusetts as an international life sciences leader and led to the creation of the UMass Amherst Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS). Subbaswamy praised area legislators for their leadership in securing the reauthorization. “I want to thank Senators Eric Lesser of Longmeadow and Adam Hinds of Pittsfield as well as state Representative Joseph Wagner of Chicopee for their leadership on the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. I also want to thank members of our local delegation Representatives Solomon Goldstein-Rose of Amherst, Steve Kulik of Worthington, John Scibak of South Hadley and the late Peter Kocot of Northampton, as well as leadership in the House and Senate, for shepherding this important legislation.”
UMass Amherst sought the capital funding to build and equip an integrated BPM research and training facility to meet growing demand in the state for an advanced workforce. Much like IALS, the BPM facilities will establish interdisciplinary teaching and research laboratories with space for industry co-mentors and advisors to provide expanded skills training for graduates. Since launching in 2016, IALS has been a solid success for UMass, attracting more than 60 industry relationships and more than $50 million in federal, industry and foundation funding.
The capital funding for UMass will support building and equipping laboratory facilities for programs that will focus on team-oriented science and industry co-mentoring of students. This type of training is important at all degree levels, including doctoral education, to address needs in the biotechnology industry.