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MA Leaders Want $50M R&D Matching Grant Fund to Spur Job Growth

May 16, 2012

Massachusetts House leaders introduced a bill earlier this week calling for funding to support R&D at universities and research centers, manufacturing grants and workforce training, and a venture capital mentoring program for startups. The measure is touted as a jobs bill to stimulate the state's sluggish recovery by focusing on high-growth sectors of the economy.

The matching grant fund would support science and technology projects sponsored by the University of Massachusetts, research universities or nonprofit research institutions and would require recipients to leverage $3 for every $1 in state funding. The bill includes $25 million in new borrowing authorization and $25 million from a higher education bond bill established in 2008 to support the program.

Another major component of the bill establishes within the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency an Advanced Manufacturing Futures program to provide grants for facilitating growth and competitiveness in the manufacturing field. Under the program, grants could be used for several initiatives, such as:

  • Launching pilot demonstrations of best practices in delivering innovation-based technical assistance;
  • Encouraging the adoption of new technologies and advanced manufacturing capabilities into existing companies to improve manufacturing processes and operations;
  • Education and skills training through individualized career pathway programs that develop skills and certifications; and
  • Fostering academic and industry collaboration, including encouraging tech transfer and commercialization efforts.

The bill also provides $2 million to the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative to establish programs that help technology startups succeed. Of that amount, $1 million would be used to establish a talent pipeline program that provides paid internships to technology startups with a 1:1 matching grant requirement. The other $1 million would be used to establish an entrepreneur and startup venture capital mentoring program to provide assistance, mentoring and advice to startup firms.

Lawmakers have less than three months remaining in the regular session to pass the bill (H. 4093).

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Massachusettsmanufacturing, higher ed, r&d