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Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Release: Southeastern Massachusetts Awarded $55,000 Planning Grant for Life Sciences Project Focused on Regional Growth


9/18/2013 2:00:54 PM

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TAUNTON, Mass. – The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) announced today the approval of a $55,000 capital planning grant to support a research project at the Myles Standish Industrial Park in Taunton. The research project will support the creation of a proposed Life Sciences Education and Training Center, a 16,000-square-foot facility to be located at the new Myles Standish Business Park being jointly developed by the Taunton Economic Development Corporation and MassDevelopment at the former Paul A. Dever School campus.

The project the grant will fund is a formal study of opportunities to catalyze life-sciences-related economic development across all of Southeastern Massachusetts. The research, to be conducted by an independent consultant, will be guided by CONNECT, a consortium of five public higher education institutions in Southeastern Massachusetts: Bristol, Cape Cod, and Massasoit Community Colleges, Bridgewater State University, and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

The MLSC is the agency charged with implementing the state’s 10-year, $1-billion Life Sciences Initiative, proposed by Governor Deval Patrick in 2007 and approved by the Legislature in 2008. State Senator Marc Pacheco has played a pivotal role in securing funding for the project. With his support, $5 million in capital funding was designated in the legislation for a project in the Myles Standish Industrial Park.

“As we pursue our mission of accelerating growth in Massachusetts, we are very focused on making investments across the entire Commonwealth that promote life sciences-driven economic development,” said Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., President & CEO of the MLSC. “Taunton Development Corporation, MassDevelopment, and the public colleges and universities of Southeastern Massachusetts are important partners in that effort, and we are pleased to award this funding to support their forward-looking plans for life sciences growth in the region.”

UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman, Ph.D., the Chair of CONNECT, stated, “This grant will enable Southeastern Massachusetts to examine its current assets and gaps to advance a robust life sciences ecosystem.” Pointing to the $31-million biomanufacturing accelerator that UMass Dartmouth is currently building in Fall River, Bridgewater State University’s new $100-million Science and Math building, and the biotechnology career programs offered by the community colleges, she added, “We have many strengths already. This project will help us build on those strengths to position the region to become an integral part of the statewide life sciences strategy.”

Richard Henderson, Executive Vice President for Real Estate at MassDevelopment, noted that the establishment of the Taunton Education and Training Center dovetails with planned economic expansion in the Myles Standish Park and in the region. “The Life Sciences legislation, at its heart,” he said, “is about economic expansion and opportunity.” The Taunton Education and Training Center is part of a plan to attract new businesses to the Park, as the Dever School property is remediated and incorporated into the Park. Two new phases of expansion will add 220 acres to the park, and a projected 2,414 new jobs.

Louis Ricciardi, TDC President , echoed the need for workforce development training in conjunction with the redevelopment project noting that while Greater Taunton has always had a productive workforce, there continues to be a shortfall in STEM education, especially to meet the need of new technology companies interested in the MSIP expansion area.

Kathleen Kirby, Ph.D., Executive Director of CONNECT, who has led the development of the proposal to MLSC on behalf of the consortium’s member colleges, commended the MLSC for its support and assistance during the process. “The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center has truly been a partner on this initiative,” she said. “An independent study will help all of our schools to advance their Life Sciences education and workforce programs in a deliberate, coordinated way.”

About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center

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. These investments create jobs and support advances that improve health and well-being. The MLSC offers the nation’s most comprehensive set of incentives and collaborative programs targeted to the life sciences ecosystem. These programs propel the growth that has made Massachusetts the global leader in life sciences. The MLSC creates new models for collaboration and partners with organizations, both public and private, around the world to promote innovation in the life sciences. For more information, visit www.masslifesciences.com.

About CONNECT

CONNECT is a partnership of five public institutions of higher education in Southeastern Massachusetts: Bristol, Cape Cod, and Massasoit Community Colleges; Bridgewater State University; Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. For more information visit www.connectsemass.org.

About MassDevelopment

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2012, MassDevelopment financed or managed 280 projects generating investment of more than $2.3 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create more than 12,000 jobs and build or rehabilitate 900 residential units.

About Taunton Development Corporation

TDC, the City of Taunton’s long-time partner in industrial park development, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. TDC, with its all-volunteer Board of Directors, has developed and managed the highly successful 809 acre Myles Standish Industrial Park and the 350 acre Liberty and Union Industrial Park, which in 2013 will together have 112 companies with over 7000 jobs and will generate over $13 million in property taxes. TDC is pleased to be partnering with MassDevelopment on the 220 acre MSIP Expansion and the proposed Training and Education Center.

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