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April 20, 2022

BioConnects creates partnership for life sciences racial, gender equity

Photo | Courtesy of WPI BioConnects New England has received $500,000 in federal funding for its efforts.

The federal initiative partnered with Worcester Polytechnic Institute to facilitate the growth of the biotech sector in New England has announced a new effort in its quest to expand the industry’s services to underserved communities. 

BioConnect New England, a coalition established via a federal grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, announced it was partnering with LabCentral Ignite, a Cambridge nonprofit aiming to improve gender and racial equity in the life sciences field. The partnership aims to bolster efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as provide more equitable access to necessary training and education for entering the life sciences field. 

“We’re excited that LabCentral Ignite has signed on to partner with us on these important efforts,” said Jared Auclair, an associate dean at Northeastern University in Boston and co-lead of BioConnects New England, in a press release.  “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.”

Ignite is a part of LabCentral, which was founded in 2013 to help launch biotech and life science startups. The Ignite initiative helps to promote the next generation of biotech entrepreneurship and workforce training. Its advisory board includes former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and LabCentral President Johannes Fruehauf. 

Previously, BioConnect has partnered with other organizations in the state, including Latinos in Bio, which helps create opportunities for Hispanic Americans in Biotech, and WPI to help scale workforce training and create a new prototype biomanufacturing facility. 

In addition to promoting growth of the industry in Massachusetts, BioConnects is partnering with groups in Rhode Island and Maine to help provide economic opportunities to communities in those states. 

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