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Press Release

BioConnects New England and the UMass Donahue Institute Announce Partnership

By March 25, 2022No Comments

Amherst, Massachusetts (3/18/2022) – BioConnects New England (BCNE) and the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute (UMDI) are excited to announce a partnership to create a robust biomanufacturing industry cluster in the New England region.

With this partnership, BioConnects New England and UMDI aim to promote the growth and sustainability of the life sciences industry in New England through academic excellence and strategic programming.  Additionally, UMDI will serve as the coalition’s evaluation partner, as well as contribute to the goals of building an infrastructure across the region to support a skilled and resilient workforce and invest in systems to support early-stage innovations and companies across four projects:  1) scale-up and prototyping for biopharmaceutical manufacturing; 2) lab incubator and accelerator support for early-stage companies; 3) workforce training and education; and 4) building for equity.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute as a partner with BioConnects New England,” said Jared Auclair, Ph.D., an associate dean at Northeastern University and director of their Biopharmaceutical Analysis Training Lab and co-lead of BioConnects New England.  “UMDI will contribute greatly to the coalition’s efforts through their economic research and program evaluation, and we especially look forward to their efforts to help us enhance opportunities in historically underrepresented communities.”

“As a public service and economic development arm of the University of Massachusetts, we are excited about this project’s goals of using the region’s existing strengths in biopharma to leverage economic opportunities across New England, especially in second- and third-tier urban markets, exurban, suburban, and rural areas,” said Mark Melnik, Ph.D., director of Economic and Public Policy Research at the Donahue Institute.  “We think this is a critical equity issue for the region and one we believe will help create better economic resiliency and sustainability to the New England economy.  We look forward to working closely with the coalition to ensure the project has the optimal impact on the biopharma industry and various communities around New England.”

Through its grant challenge sponsored by the Economic Development Administration, BioConnects New England is leveraging its resources in the region to create a robust biomanufacturing industry. Massachusetts-based Northeastern University leads the coalition, which includes The Biopharmaceutical Analysis Training Laboratory at Northeastern University, The Roux Institute at Northeastern University in Portland, Maine, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, -the I-195 Design & Innovation District in Providence, Rhode Island, the University of Rhode Island, and FocusMaine in Portland. The coalition will lead K-12 education and engagement activities, jumpstart prototyping and incubation facilities throughout the region, and invest in accessible start-up entrepreneurship programming.


BioConnects New England is a multi-state coalition and finalist of the Build Back Better Regional Challenge—a $1 billion program sponsored by the Economic Development Administration. Through this initiative, BioConnects New England will create a biomanufacturing cluster in the region of Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island that have been historically excluded from the biotechnology industry, one of the fastest-growing sectors in New England with national importance. This coalition will connect hubs throughout New England to support existing—and establish new—biomanufacturing infrastructure as a pathway to increase employment and educational opportunities for underserved regions and populations.


The UMass Donahue Institute is a public service, research, and economic development arm of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The Institute’s mission is to apply theory and innovation to solve real world challenges and enable our clients to achieve their goals and aspirations. UMDI routinely works with federal, state, and local agencies, school districts, quasi-public agencies, foundations, corporations, and non-profit organizations to help them analyze key issues, conduct policy assessments, create effective programs, and address changes and challenges facing their organizations and the broader community. UMDI frequently collaborates with faculty and staff from all five UMass campuses, connecting the inquiry and insight of academia with the urgency and pragmatism of the business world.