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In keeping with its mission to support regional economic development, UMass Lowell has taken part in the formation of a center to help the state’s medical device companies grow, compete and remain in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Medical Devices Development Center (M2D2) combines the engineering expertise at UML, the clinical and medical expertise at UMass Worcester and the marketing expertise of the University’s Donahue Institute to help both established and start-up companies with product design, prototyping, manufacturing, clinical trials and FDA compliance issues.
Prof. Steve McCarthy of Plastics Engineering, a primary investigator of M2D2, says, “Medical device companies have told the Donahue Institute that they want access and interaction with University researchers. Our response is M2D2.”
While industry members have been able to approach the UMass system’s faculty and researchers to seek assistance in the past, there has never any mechanism in place to facilitate this effort, McCarthy says. The new Center solves that problem.
There are more than 220 medical device companies in Massachusetts, with 20,000 employees and a total payroll of more than $1.6 billion. And, it’s estimated that every 100 jobs in the industry is associated with another 79 jobs in the state.
The Center was launched with $135,000 in seed funding, awarded by UMass President Jack Wilson from the University’s Science and Technology Fund. This money will be used by the Center to compete for major funding through the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and cost-sharing with the Massachusetts economic stimulus legislation.
The strategy will be to expand the collaboration between the Lowell and Worcester campuses and to use the Donahue Institute to develop strategic alliances with Massachusetts industry and hospitals.
McCarthy says, “The Massachusetts medical device industry is a major competitor at the national level. It’s worth adopting and developing public policies to help keep our state in the forefront of this industry.”
UMass Lowell’s Plastics Engineering Department has an impressive record in the area of plastics engineering research ߝ particularly in medical device research and development ߝ and offers a Graduate Certificate in Medical Plastics and Manufacturing. Hundreds of its alumni work in the medical device field and many have established extremely successful companies.
The Worcester campus provides expertise in medical procedures, clinical trials and FDA compliance. The Donahue Institute has links with many medical device companies and will help to identify and link the needs of these companies with the capabilities of the University.