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Business West: Institute for Applied Life Sciences Connects UMass with High-tech Industry

NTMA mentioned in Business West article.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

UMass Amherst may be renowned for cutting-edge scientific research, but when it comes from turning published papers into public benefits, the transition hasn’t always been smooth.

“What we don’t do well is move the results of our research into society,” said Jim Capistran, executive director of the UMass Innovation Institute. “We’re not good at that. We’re not out there working with industry.”

That’s changing, though, as some 120 representatives from advanced and precision manufacturing firms, research and development companies, commercial lenders, and community colleges learned during a recent visit to UMass Amherst’s Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS, pronounced aisles) to learn about how its newly opened core facilities can help them boost the state’s manufacturing economy.

We want all the precision manufacturers and related industry in the state to know that we are open for business.”

“Now, we have this pathway to commercialization, to take our research and work with industries of all sizes,” Capistran told BusinessWest. “We now have this vehicle to bring research to fruition and make an impact on society.”

Located inside the IALS building, these core facilities — now numbering 30 — and their high-tech equipment are available not only to UMass researchers, but to companies that want to rent the space and equipment.

The four newly opened core facilities offer additive manufacturing, 3D metal and plastic printing, roll-to-roll manufacturing, device characterization, materials testing, modeling, simulation, computer-assisted design, and other analytical core research facilities that will be available for advanced manufacturers to test designs and prototypes, for example, that could lead to a new product, land a new customer, or add jobs, Capistran explained.

“We want all the precision manufacturers and related industry in the state to know that we are open for business,” he told the visitors. “Today, they can see for themselves what we have to offer.”

Among Capistran’s roles is serving a point of contact for university engagement with industry, which has become an increasing priority over the past decade, he told BusinessWest.

“All these companies have this big research institution in their backyard, but they don’t use it,” he noted, ticking off reasons why they should. “They have their limitations; they can’t buy the latest and greatest tools, and they don’t have the people to use them. As we’re getting to know these companies, they’re finding we’re approachable; we’re not mad scientists running around an ivory tower. They can come here for help with introducing them to new technologies and new ways to approach solutions.”

Read more here.