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Saving his veto pen for other sections, Gov. Mitt Romney has approved the $35 million the Legislature passed for an integrated advanced manufacturing research and technology assistance facility at UMass Lowell.
“The broad support for the building is outstanding news, not only for the campus, but for the region as a whole,” said Chancellor William T. Hogan. “With it, we will help companies turn out nano-scale products and produce new life-saving biopharmaceuticals. Such advanced manufacturing will be infused with a respect for the environment, embodied by UMass Lowell’s green chemistry program, which also will be housed in the facility. This investment will allow our institution, the state and New England to capitalize on the emerging industries of the 21st century.”
Chancellor Hogan lauded the Lowell delegation for shepherding the proposal through the Legislature and aggressively advocating for higher education funding on Beacon Hill. He also thanked Governor Mitt Romney and Secretary of Economic Development Ranch Kimball for their support.
“This investment puts Lowell at the forefront of two emerging industries ߝ nanomanufacturing and biomanufacturing,” said Sen. Steven C. Panagiotakos, a member of the conference committee that crafted the final legislation. “This will capture for the region the jobs of the future.”
The bill appropriates $21 million and approves state bonding for $14 million for a nano- and bio-manufacturing facility on campus. The University will borrow an additional $35 million and tap other sources for $10 million to fund the proposed $80 million facility, which requires state-of-the-art interdisciplinary research laboratories and prototype manufacturing space.
If funding is secured, the facility will be the first new academic building constructed on campus in more than 30 years.
The building will be home to an expanded Nanomanufacturing Center of Excellence, encompassing a state-funded center, led by Prof. Julie Chen, and the National Science Foundation-funded Center for High-Rate Nanomanufacturing, led by Profs. Carol Barry and Joey Mead. Likewise, the green chemistry program, led by Prof. John Warner, will also find a home in the new facility.
The building’s biomanufacturing research and production assistance space and equipment will allow the existing BioManufacturing Center, directed by Prof. Carl Lawton, to expand (see related story in Faculty/Staff.)