Editor’s note: Attendance is limited to invited guests but space is available for media representatives. Contact Kristen Cole or Angus G. McQuilken to arrange to cover all or part of the summit. The event was originally scheduled for Jan. 27 but was postponed due to inclement weather.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Recognizing the importance of the life sciences to the economic development of Western Massachusetts, Smith College, in partnership with the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and a number of the region’s higher education and industry leaders, will host a half-day summit on March 31 featuring key figures in this important sector of the state’s economy.

“Life Sciences in Western Massachusetts: Advancing the Next Generation,” co-sponsored by the City of Northampton, Five Colleges, Inc., the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts, will bring together some 100 researchers, business leaders, and economic development professionals to promote life sciences collaboration between higher education and industry and discuss the context and opportunity for developing a strengthened life sciences cluster in western Massachusetts.

Featured speakers will include:

  • Susan Windham-Bannister, President and CEO, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
  • Allan W. Blair, president and CEO, Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts
  • Abigail Barrow, founding director, Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center

“Life sciences research, development and commercialization holds enormous potential for promoting our state’s economic prosperity and our position of global leadership in these sectors,” says Windham-Bannister. “Western Massachusetts has many attributes to offer both young and mature life sciences companies, including available land, a talented workforce, and world-class academic institutions conducting important life sciences research. I am pleased to participate in this important discussion of a strategy for accelerating life sciences growth in the region.”

Smith College President Carol T. Christ, who will open the summit, cites the collective power of five colleges – Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, Smith and UMass Amherst – as key resources that bring powerful research assets and a sustained commitment to the economic success of the region.

The summit will open with poster sessions and networking at 8 a.m., with formal sessions beginning at 8:45 a.m. It will take place at Smith College’s Ford Hall, Green Street at Belmont Avenue, and will include lunch, at which Northampton Mayor Clare Higgins will make remarks.

About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center is a quasi-public agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts tasked with implementing the Massachusetts Life Sciences Act, a ten-year, $1 billion initiative that was signed into law in June of 2008. The Center’s mission is to create jobs in the life sciences and support vital scientific research that will improve the human condition. This work includes making financial investments in public and private institutions that are advancing life sciences research, development and commercialization as well as building ties between sectors of the Massachusetts life sciences community.

About Smith College

Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction. One of the largest women’s colleges in the United States, Smith enrolls 2,800 students from nearly every state and 62 other countries. One-third of Smith students major in the sciences. The college’s Picker Engineering Program is the first – and only accredited – engineering program at a U.S. women’s college.

Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063
Kristen Cole
Media Relations Director
T (413) 585-2190
kacole@smith.edu