The Baker-Polito Administration announced two new grants totaling over $5.2 million from the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2) to support the development of new advanced manufacturing technologies across the state.
Lt. Governor Karyn Polito announced the new funding at an event hosted at the Dana Mohler-Faria Science and Mathematics Center at Bridgewater State University, which, along with partner Stonehill College, will host some of the new M2I2 program-funded infrastructure.
Lt. Governor Polito also announced a grant to Human Systems Integration, Inc., of Walpole, to support its collaboration with UMass Lowell to evolve its garment-embedded physiological monitoring platform.
Governor Charlie Baker said, “The two grants we are awarding today will provide support to the researchers developing cutting-edge technologies and boost collaboration between private sector companies and the state’s top academic research institutions.”
Lt. Governor Polito said, “We have made a commitment to investing in our STEM pipeline at all levels, from K-12 and community colleges and by investing in these training efforts and by funding public-private collaborations statewide, we’re ensuring that the Commonwealth’s manufacturing industry maintains a strong footing as a global leader in innovation.”
A grant for $3.8 million is funding a new integrated photonics training facility to be co-led by Bridgewater State University and Stonehill College. The funding will support the creation of a facility for students training to be technicians or engineers in integrated photonics, a field that is revolutionizing industries such as telecommunications, precision measurements, biomedical sensing and imaging, optic and laser development, and autonomous vehicles. This will be the third Lab for Education and Application Prototypes (LEAP) for integrated photonics in the Commonwealth, joining facilities at MIT and a collaborative project between Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and Quinsigamond Community College in Central Massachusetts, both projects supported by M2I2.
A grant of $1.5 million to Human System Integration, Inc. (HSI) of Walpole is for a collaborative project with UMass Lowell that will support the evolution of HSI’s garment-embedded physiological monitoring platform, with the initial end-product being used to monitor the health of U.S. Air Force pilots.
Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy said, “As we develop our statewide economic development plan, we’ll continue to invest in our workforce and homegrown R&D centers. The work we do through M2I2 includes awards that have boosted manufacturers and collaborative projects across the state, and reflects this administration’s deep commitment to regional growth.”
According to Manufacturing in Massachusetts, 10% of the Commonwealth’s total economic output is tied to manufacturing. Massachusetts companies exported $26 billion in manufactured goods in 2016 alone. Roughly 250,000 employees work in the Commonwealth’s manufacturing sector, comprising 7.8 percent of the total workforce in the state.
The Baker-Polito Administration has committed more than $100 million in funding to the M2I2 effort, which allows the Commonwealth to co-invest in projects supported by the national Manufacturing USA initiative, helping promote innovation and job growth across the state. The new awards from the M2I2 program bring the total invested to nearly $60 million to-date, boosting advanced manufacturing projects throughout Massachusetts, supporting critical research and development infrastructure and workforce training programs. The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative co-manage the M2I2 effort.
Massachusetts Technology Collaborative Executive Director Carolyn Kirk said, “For Southeastern Massachusetts, the new partnership between Bridgewater and Stonehill will create a new hub of learning for integrated photonics, and the new partnership between HSI and UMass Lowell will drive research into tools that will support our brave servicemen and women. These are exciting projects and we look forward to seeing their growth over the coming years.”
M2I2 co-invests in four of the national manufacturing institutes under Manufacturing USA, areas where Massachusetts can play a leading role globally. The Bridgewater/Stonehill Project is supported by AIM Photonics and the HSI grant by the national NextFlex institute (flexible hybrid electronics), with additional M2I2 projects supported by the ARM institute (robotics) and AFFOA (advanced functional fabrics) which is based in Cambridge, Mass. Details on the two new M2I2-funded projects, totaling $5,257,363, are below:
Launched by the Baker-Polito Administration in 2016, the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2) aims to help Massachusetts manufacturers adopt innovative new technologies and guides the state’s investment in the Manufacturing USA program. The Administration has committed $100 million-plus in funding to support M2I2 projects across the Commonwealth; the investments are managed by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. Through the creation of sector-specific Manufacturing USA Centers, M2I2 will advance innovation and job growth throughout the state through cross-collaboration among companies, universities, national labs, government, incubators, accelerators, and other academic and training institutions.