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Framingham State, MassBay awarded more than $3m for life science programs

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  February 26, 2014 04:31 PM

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Two higher education institutions in Framingham were awarded state grants this week to help boost life sciences programs.

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center awarded $3 million to Framingham State University, and $50,000 to Massachusetts Bay Community College's Framingham campus.

Framingham State will use the grant to both renovate and add biology and chemistry labs in Hemenway Hall. The school will also use the funds to support STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs and upgrade existing infrastructure, according to the college.

“We know that Massachusetts companies are in need of highly educated science and math graduates,” said the university's interim president, Robert Martin, in a statement. “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."

MassBay officials said they will use their $50,000 grant to develop a science center on their proposed downtown Framingham campus. The new campus is in design phase and will use $22.1 million in state capital funds, according to state officials.

MassBay Community College President John O’Donnell said in a statement that he appreciates the life sciences grant.

“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," O'Donnell said.

Massachusetts is investing $1 billion over 10 years in the growth of the state’s life sciences ecosystem through the life science program, officials said. To date, the center has awarded more than $330 million to support life sciences-related capital projects across the state.

“Supporting innovation propels our economy forward and prepares our workers for the 21st century global marketplace,” said Governor Deval Patrick in the statement. “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 grants come after three area high schools were also awarded state funds for life sciences equipment and supplies this past December. Waltham High School and Franklin's Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School each received $100,000; Marlborough's Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School was given $40,000.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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