December 12, 2013

$95 Million for Life Sciences

State grant outfits new research centers

The campus got great news from the governor during its sesquicentennial summer. One hundred and fifty years after Governor John A. Andrew signed the charter that established Massachusetts Agricultural College, Governor Deval Patrick announced a grant that will allow UMass Amherst to build on its long tradition of scientific research and innovation.

The $100 million grant through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center for life-sciences-related capital projects in western Massachusetts includes $95 million for UMass Amherst and $5.5 million for the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute, a joint venture of Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and UMass Amherst.

“Our life sciences strategy is about choosing to shape our future—investing today to leave a better commonwealth for the next generation,” said Patrick. “These investments support the kind of innovation that propels our economy forward and prepares our citizens for the 21st century global marketplace.”

The UMass Amherst portion funds construction to substantially fit out and equip phase two of the $157-million Life Sciences Laboratories, which will house three new faculty-led research centers: Personalized Health Monitoring, Models to Medicine, and Bioactive Delivery. The centers will partner with regional life sciences and precision manufacturing companies to develop innovative products and services.

The grant for the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute, adjacent to Baystate Medical Center’s main campus in Springfield, supports the development of a new Informatics and Technology Innovation Center focused on advancing public/private-sector partnerships and incubating innovative technology solutions developed by start-ups and larger, more established firms in areas such as population health management, health care quality, “big data” analytics, and mobile health.

“This grant positions us for new directions in translational research and for increased engagement with industry and other educational institutions in western Massachusetts and throughout the Commonwealth. UMass is committed to growing these relationships to advance economic development as part of our land grant mission,” says Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy.