Cambridge, Massachusetts (4/19/2022) – BioConnects New England (BCNE) and LabCentral Ignite are excited to announce a partnership to create a robust biotechnology and biopharma industry cluster in the New England region. Powered by LabCentral, Ignite is a platform that harnesses community to advance racial and gender equity in the life sciences field.
With this partnership, BCNE and Ignite aim to center the growth and sustainability of the life sciences industry in New England on principles and practices that create markedly more equitable access through education and training, as well as measurable progress on gender and racial representation. Additionally, BCNE and Ignite are committed to developing public awareness of life sciences and related careers; shared resources for training programs, non-profits and institutions of higher education; and tools that focus on building inclusion and equity within the industry.
This work adds to Ignite’s ongoing workforce diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts through programmatic interventions, including its new bioDiversity Network of partners, its growing MOSAIC Innovation Consortium of minority-serving institutions seeking industry career connections and technical training for students, and its Leadership & Inclusive Talent programs like Career Forge and the Ignite Golden Ticket competition for underrepresented biotech founders.
“We’re excited that LabCentral Ignite has signed on to partner with us on these important efforts,” 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. “With its focus on supporting developments in STEM, workforce training, and next-generation entrepreneurship, the Ignite platform is especially aligned with the mission of BioConnects New England.”
“The impact of BioConnects New England can be a game changer in making workforce diversity a reality in our region,” said Gretchen Cook-Anderson, executive director of Ignite. “We are delighted to make Ignite a key part of this work, bringing wealth-creating jobs to communities that have historically been disconnected from life sciences while also meeting the workforce needs of this biotech hub, both of which are essential to our economy and human health.”
“BioConnects New England has elected to work systemically, to address challenges in attracting, training and engaging talent that we are also very committed to addressing,” added Cook-Anderson. “We look forward to working together to make the life sciences full of opportunity for everyone.”
Through its grant challenge sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, BioConnects New England is leveraging its resources in the region to create a robust 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. 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.
ABOUT BIOCONNECTS NEW ENGLAND
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.
ABOUT LABCENTRAL IGNITE
The growing Ignite platform is dedicated to developing equity, inclusion, and opportunity within the life sciences field. Through a range of equity-driven programs and a growing member network of industry, startups, higher education, and nonprofits, Ignite connects underrepresented students, talent and innovators to academic, technical skills-building, mentoring, job placement, and board and leadership preparation opportunities that fuel biotech diversity and inclusively transform careers.
A private, non-profit institution, LabCentral was founded in 2013 as a launchpad for high potential life-sciences and biotech startups. Operating a total of 225,000 square-feet in the heart of Kendall Square in Cambridge, Mass., LabCentral offers fully permitted laboratory and office space for as many as 100 startups comprising approximately 1000 scientists and entrepreneurs. More information is available at www.labcentral.org.