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Massachusetts Governor proposes over $2 billion for major initiatives in life sciences, climatetech, and AI

March 07, 2024
By: Laura Lacy Graham

On March 1, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey introduced and filed her administration’s anticipated economic development measure, AN Act Relative to Strengthening Massachusetts’ Economic Leadership, or the Mass Leads Act. The measure seeks to reauthorize the state’s life sciences investments at $1 billion for the next decade, launch a separate $1 billion, 10-year climatetech initiative, and build on the momentum of the state's CHIPS + Science wins by proposing targeted investments in advanced manufacturing and robotics. It also includes $100 million to create an Applied AI Hub in Massachusetts. It seeks to advance the strategies, implement the policies, and fund the initiatives Healy laid out in her economic development plan, Team Massachusetts—Leading Future Generations, which was released in December and presented in her 2024 State of the State address.

The measure details major new proposals to make Massachusetts a global hub for the life sciences, climatetech, and applied artificial intelligence (AI). The governor stressed that the goal of her proposal is to “position Massachusetts for sustained growth and shared prosperity for years to come.” The administration’s economic development blueprint and the Mass Leads Act “advances every sector of our economy, in every region of our state,” she added. Upon its release, the administration called the measure “a work in progress” and expected it to be reworked and augmented by the Legislature upon review.

Healey’s Mass Leads Act would reauthorize the public-private life sciences investment initiative first started in 2008 under former Gov. Deval Patrick, who provided $1 billion to the sector over 10 years, with former Gov. Charlie Baker extending it in 2018 with an additional $623 million more over five years. The program is set to expire on June 30, 2025. As part of the current administration’s $1 billion proposed funding, $500 million is allotted in capital funding for the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and injects $350 million into the life sciences tax incentive program. Another $150 million would cover operating resources, such as worker training and other strategic efforts to grow the life sciences sector and support early-stage companies. Healey also wants to raise the annual cap on life sciences tax incentives from $30 million to $50 million. Within the measure, the Mass Leads Act would also reframe a core section of the state’s existing law into the Massachusetts Life Sciences Breakthrough Fund, which would consolidate existing funds into one and incorporate additional considerations for new priority areas, such as health equity, biomanufacturing, and medical technologies.

The legislation would also fund a 10-year climatetech initiative that aims to make Massachusetts “the global innovation lab for the clean energy revolution” and includes backing research and development at universities or providing startups with resources and facilities. The climate technology funding program would also scale up manufacturing and workforce development partnerships, the administration said. The governor's climatetech initiative proposes $400 million in capital funding to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, split evenly across authorizations to support a clean energy investment fund and offshore wind industry investment fund. The cleantech plan incorporates $300 million in tax incentives, including a $35 million annual offshore wind tax credit and a new climatetech tax incentive program subject to a $30 million annual cap.

Healey’s proposed $100 million for the Applied AI Hub is part of her plan for business competitiveness. The Applied AI Hub would in part coordinate and assist in implementing recommendations from a task force on AI that Healey created earlier in February. The task force must report its findings in six months. Other funding recommendations include:

  • $99 million for Advanced Manufacturing for flexible grants to support advanced manufacturing initiatives through Mass Tech Collaborative (MTC).
  • $95 million for the R&D Matching Grant Fund for capital investments in research and development projects that leverage collaboration between higher education, research institutions, and industry to bolster the state’s innovation economy through MTC.
  • $75 million for the Massachusetts TechHub to establish a new program in Massachusetts for investment in consortia organized around key technology areas, modeled on the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Regional Technology and Innovation (Tech Hubs) Program.
  • $25 million for the Robotics Investment Program for capital grants to advance the state’s leadership in the robotics sector through research, commercialization, and training.
  • $25 million for the Business Builds Capital Program for a new grant program to support business improvements, such as energy efficiency, via the Business Front Door.
  • $25 million for Small Business Technology Grants to help early-stage companies commercialize new and innovative technologies developed in Massachusetts via MassVentures.

The bill also proposes investments in the Community One Stop for Growth, rural communities, advanced manufacturing, robotics, tourism, the creative economy, and small businesses.

This article was prepared by SSTI using Federal funds under award ED22HDQ3070129 from the Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. (The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.


state budget, life sciences, climate, AI