Publisher McGraw-Hill opens Boston research and development lab

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Textbook giant McGraw-Hill Education is opening a research-and-development lab in Boston to advance into digital publishing and educational software.

The New York company, one of the biggest educational publishers in the country, plans to open in the coming weeks in the city’s Innovation District, the South Boston Waterfront neighborhood that has become a magnet for big companies and small Internet start-ups.

Over the past several months, McGraw-Hill has built up its technology division with key hires from competitors such as Pearson Education and Boston-based Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, as well as by hiring former Harvard Business School chief information officer Stephen Laster to lead its digital endeavors. He will be based out of the new Boston office.

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