On September 5, UMass Dartmouth was awarded $600,000 from the United States Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration (EDA) for the development of a Blue Economy Corridor running along the SouthCoast of Massachusetts.
UMass Dartmouth will bring together higher education and research institutions, businesses, and civic organizations to collaborate on the continued growth of marine science and technology in the region. The grant will be used to encourage collaboration to attract marine technology companies, talent, and research funding.
The grant award comes less than six months after UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert Johnson convened a Blue Economy symposium on campus that attracted 100 government, industry, and higher education leaders to discuss opportunities and challenges related to the marine economy. The event produced a whitepaper that details the potential for regional blue economy growth.
In addition, the UMass Dartmouth-based SouthCoast Development Partnership has made development of the blue economy a strategic priority. Members of the partnership strongly advocated for the grant and assisted in the development of the project proposal.
“This investment by the Department of Commerce and EDA will allow us to bring together business, civic, and educational leaders to design and build a new blue economy driven by innovation and collaboration,” said Chancellor Johnson. “Our region’s economy has been driven by its proximity to the ocean for centuries. Now, with the nation’s top fishing port, an emerging offshore wind industry, and a growing marine technology sector, the potential for economic growth along Interstate 195 is great. I want to thank congressmen Bill Keating and Joe Kennedy and the delegation for their advocacy and encouragement in moving this project forward and assure them that UMass Dartmouth is prepared to lead this effort.”
“The Massachusetts marine economy depends on the type of innovative research taking place at UMass Dartmouth,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren. “By helping to spur UMass Dartmouth’s Blue Economy Corridor Initiative, this federal grant will generate enormous economic benefits for the Commonwealth and I am grateful to the EDA for this support.”
“This grant will allow the SouthCoast to maximize the potential of its burgeoning Blue Economy and will spur growth in the region by strategic investment in the marine science sector,” said Congressman William R. Keating. “I commend UMass Dartmouth and the South Coast Development Partnership’s leadership for taking the necessary steps to bring their regional vision to fruition and am glad we could secure federal dollars to move it forward.”
“With its robust marine resources, top-tier workforce and long tradition of innovation, the SouthCoast is uniquely positioned to drive our Commonwealth and country’s blue economy,” said Congressman Joe Kennedy III. “I’m grateful for the continued leadership of UMass Dartmouth and the SouthCoast Development Partnership in securing this well-deserved grant and solidifying this region’s economic future. I look forward to the continued collaboration of stakeholders across government, business and academia to ensure the SouthCoast remains at the very forefront of marine technology.”
“It has been my great pleasure to support the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s plans for a Blue Economy Corridor, and I applaud the EDA’s choice to invest in the powerful potential of this region,” U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey. “Southeastern Massachusetts is already home to the world’s foremost marine research institutions and a growing hub for innovative marine science and technology companies. With this investment, a new era will dawn in the region as the Blue Economy Corridor harnesses the power and potential of scholarship, innovation, and ingenuity that can only be found in Southeastern Massachusetts.”
“EDA congratulates the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on the award and looks forward to new opportunities, job creation and private investment as a result of the promising Marine Technology Alliance,” said Linda Cruz-Carnall, Regional Director, Philadelphia Regional Office of the EDA.
The project aims to examine the blue economy by looking at supply chain inventory, workforce, higher education research, challenges to growth and exporting goods, and other factors to create a comprehensive catalog of the industry sector. This catalog will be used to facilitate branding and marketing of the region internationally. Other parts of the project include addressing unemployment, facilitating the creation of long-term, high wage employment opportunities, and diversifying the regional economy.
UMass Dartmouth is a tier 1 national research university recognized for its excellence in marine science and technology via its School for Marine Science and Technology in New Bedford, its College of Engineering on the main campus in Dartmouth, and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Fall River.