New Initiative Will Advance State’s Biomaterials Industry

September 18, 2018

DURHAM, N.H. –New Hampshire’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, a program of the National Science Foundation (NSF), was recently awarded a $20 million federal grant to develop innovative approaches for the manufacturing of biomaterials, such as those used in implants and tissue engineering, which hold the potential to save lives and improve overall quality of life for patients.

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New Hampshire’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (NH EPSCoR), a program of the National Science Foundation (NSF), was recently awarded a $20 million federal grant to develop innovative approaches for the manufacturing of biomaterials, such as those used in implants and tissue engineering. The grant will fund a five-year project, called NH BioMade, to support the rapidly growing New Hampshire biomaterials industry through academic-industrial research partnerships and workforce development.

The grant will fund a five-year project, called NH BioMade, to support the rapidly growing New Hampshire biomaterials industry through academic-industrial research partnerships and workforce development. NH BioMade will work closely with the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI) in Manchester, NH and other partners to accelerate the advancement in biomaterials design and manufacturing.

“Building on ARMI and the tax breaks and loan forgiveness we now offer for people employed in the area of regenerative manufacturing, this project is another step forward in our work to keep the best and brightest young people in the state to build the skilled workforce and conduct the research that our businesses need and ensure our state’s economy continues to thrive and grow,” said New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu.

NH EPSCoR is governed by leaders from New Hampshire business and industry, legislative and executive branches of state government, philanthropy, the public sector, and higher education. In October 2016, NH EPSCoR released the NH University Research and Industry Plan, which provides insights based on data-driven evidence of our state’s innovation strengths and suggested strategies to capitalize on opportunities. NH BioMade is a direct result of the strategies for economic development outlined in the plan.

“This NSF grant allows us to implement recommendations from the NH University Research and Industry Plan, which analyzed how the state could best use its assets and strengths to grow research and development and high wage jobs in specific industry clusters, including biosciences and biotechnology” said Jan Nisbet, senior vice provost for research, University of New Hampshire, and state director, NH EPSCoR. “We appreciate the support of every member of our congressional delegation—senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan as well as congresswomen Annie Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter—in helping us to access NSF funding and their commitment to developing our state’s workforce and the important role of university and industry collaboration.”

NH BioMade will build on the state’s research capacity by investing in a shared, core facility for high-performance computing, advanced manufacturing, and state-of-the-art biomaterials characterization; statewide education and workforce training initiatives; and 11 new faculty members across three institutions.

“The research and design of biomaterials will help save lives, and I am thrilled to see the National Science Foundation recognize New Hampshire’s role in the development of this cutting edge technology,” said Shaheen, who advocated for this funding as the Ranking Member of the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee in the Senate. “This grant will allow New Hampshire to expand its research capacity throughout the state through workforce development programs, growing our economy and creating jobs. I congratulate NH EPSCoR on this award, and as a senior member of the Appropriations Committee I will continue to advocate for federal funding to bolster medical research and innovation.”

“This $20 million federal grant from the National Science Foundation will help cement UNH’s leadership in this cutting-edge research, support our state’s growing biomaterials industry, and ultimately save lives,” said Hassan. “Supporting our scientists and research facilities is one of the most important investments we can make in our nation’s health and well-being, and I will continue to fight to support the National Science Foundation which makes this critical funding possible.”

“UNH and the EPSCoR program are pioneering cutting-edge research into lifesaving biotechnologies, and I am very happy that this impressive program will be receiving $20 million in federal funding from the National Science Foundation,” said Shea-Porter. “This funding will be used to establish a new facility to research and assemble state-of-the-art biomaterials and will support the hiring of eleven new faculty researchers across our state. From orthopedics to trauma treatment, these new compounds have the potential to revolutionize surgical and other lifesaving procedures. I have been proud to support the NSF, which has been an essential funding source for UNH and the critical research programs that grow our innovation workforce and have positioned our state as a leader in advanced manufacturing and health care technologies.”

“This funding will support groundbreaking research into biomaterials that will help to shape the future of medicine,” said Kuster, who has written in support of robust funding for the National Science Foundation’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research program. “High-tech advanced medical research is an increasingly important component of New Hampshire’s economy and this $20 million grant will support the Granite State’s leadership as a pioneer in the healthcare technologies of the future.”  

The NH BioMade Industry and State Partnerships Advisory Board is comprised of representatives from various NH businesses in the biotech sector; University of New Hampshire (UNH), Dartmouth College, and the Community College System of NH (CCSNH); and organizations including the NH Manufacturing Extension Partnership, NH Tech Alliance, and the NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs (BEA).

Brad Kinsey, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and interim director of the John Olson Advanced Manufacturing Center, will serve as the principle investigator and will lead a team of scientists and engineers at UNH and Dartmouth to develop the novel biomaterials. Education and workforce training efforts will be led by the Leitzel Center for Mathematics, Science and Engineering Education at UNH, in partnership with the CCSNH, Keene State College, and UNH Manchester.

“NH EPSCoR is proud to lead this statewide effort that brings together scientists, engineers, educators and businesses to work together to make New Hampshire a hub for biomaterials research, development and manufacturing,” said Nisbet.

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