Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chamber Works to Preserve Massachusetts Research Funding

This month, the Chamber submitted a letter of support for H. 3563, An Act relative to the establishment of a scientific and technology research and development matching grant fund. This bill will help to ensure the state’s continued ability to compete for and secure scientific research and development activities that have made Massachusetts a global innovation leader.

The Chamber has long recognized the impact of scientific and medical research dollars on our regional economy. This funding helps to drive Massachusetts leadership in patent generation, which in turn spurs the related startup, hiring, private investment, and export activity that define the Massachusetts innovation economy. Yet continued leadership in these areas is not guaranteed. Recent funding declines in federal research accounts, coupled with continuing pressure on Congress to slash discretionary funding, mean that the roadmap for securing federal grants will become increasingly competitive. Declining federal funding has also raised the stakes among research institutions to attract a finite pool of industry partnerships and venture capital in order to bring their early stage innovations to the next level. For Massachusetts, where public and private research dollars represent the lifeblood of our innovation economy, erosion of such funds could diminish our global science and technology leadership.

One way to ensure that Massachusetts continues to compete for and secure more than its fair share of research funding is by creating a state-level matching grant program. The matching grant program funded by H.3563 will capture three or more times its $100 million in federal or private funds. Following a model that has succeeded in states across the country, this program will help to support promising initiatives that have been evaluated through the university peer review process. In addition, this program will help to solidify Massachusetts’ innovation leadership, defined by its world-class universities and research labs, proven industry leaders, skilled workforce, and entrepreneurial spirit. An investment to support these critical research centered collaborations today, will help to ensure that Massachusetts is home to groundbreaking innovations, companies, and jobs tomorrow.

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