“We are proud to provide continued support to programs like M2I2 that help solidify Massachusetts’ place as a global leader for innovation,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The two grants we are awarding today will provide support to the researchers developing cutting-edge technologies and boost collaboration between private sector companies and the state’s top academic research institutions.”
 
“These awards fund innovative collaborations and R&D tools, ensuring that Massachusetts students and manufacturing workers have the tools they need to succeed in advanced manufacturing," said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, who also co-chairs the Commonwealth’s STEM Council. “We have made a commitment to investing in our STEM pipeline at all levels, from K-12 and community colleges and by investing in these training efforts and by funding public-private collaborations statewide, we’re ensuring that the Commonwealth’s manufacturing industry maintains a strong footing as a global leader in innovation.”
 
The grants awarded include $3.8 million to fund a new integrated photonics training facility that will be co-led by Bridgewater State University and Stonehill College, located in Easton where funding will support the creation of a facility for students training to be technicians or engineers in integrated photonics, a field that is revolutionizing industries such as telecommunications, precision measurements, biomedical sensing and imaging, optic and laser development, and autonomous vehicles. This will be the third Lab for Education and Application Prototypes (LEAP) for integrated photonics in the Commonwealth, joining facilities at MIT and a collaborative project between Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and Quinsigamond Community College in Central Massachusetts, both projects supported by M2I2.
 
A grant of $1.5 million was awarded to Human System Integration, Inc. (HSI) of Walpole for a collaborative project with UMass Lowell. This collaboration will support the evolution of HSI’s garment-embedded physiological monitoring platform, with the initial end-product being used to monitor the health of U.S. Air Force pilots.
 
“Massachusetts has a rich history as a manufacturing leader and this sector continues to play a major role in our continued economic success,” said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy. “As we develop our statewide economic development plan, we’ll continue to invest in our workforce and homegrown R&D centers. The work we do through M2I2 includes awards that have boosted manufacturers and collaborative projects across the state, and reflects this administration’s deep commitment to regional growth.”
 
According to Manufacturing in Massachusetts, 10 percent of the Commonwealth’s total economic output is tied to manufacturing, and Massachusetts companies exported $26 billion in manufactured goods in 2016 alone. Roughly 250,000 employees work in the Commonwealth’s manufacturing sector, comprising 7.8 percent of the total workforce in the state.
 
The Baker-Polito Administration has committed more than $100 million in funding to the M2I2 effort, which allows the Commonwealth to co-invest in projects supported by the national Manufacturing USA initiative, helping promote innovation and job growth across the state. The new awards from the M2I2 program bring the total invested to nearly $60 million to-date, boosting advanced manufacturing projects throughout Massachusetts, supporting critical research and development infrastructure and workforce training programs. The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative co-manage the M2I2 effort.
 
“We are proud to lead the M2I2 program and these innovative collaborations on behalf of the Commonwealth,” said Massachusetts Technology Collaborative Executive Director Carolyn Kirk. “Research and development is what drives our innovation economy and keeps us a global leader. That’s no different in advanced manufacturing. For Southeastern Massachusetts, the new partnership between Bridgewater and Stonehill will create a new hub of learning for integrated photonics, and the new partnership between HSI and UMass Lowell will drive research into tools that will support our brave servicemen and women. These are exciting projects and we look forward to seeing their growth over the coming years.”
 
M2I2 co-invests in four of the national manufacturing institutes under Manufacturing USA, areas where Massachusetts can play a leading role globally. The Bridgewater/Stonehill Project is supported by AIM Photonics and the HSI grant by the national NextFlex institute (flexible hybrid electronics), with additional M2I2 projects supported by the ARM institute (robotics) and AFFOA (advanced functional fabrics) which is based in Cambridge, Mass. Details on the two new M2I2-funded projects, totaling $5,257,363, are below:


  • “Southeastern Massachusetts Lab for Education and Application Prototypes” (SEMA LEAP) - $3,807,731 – Bridgewater State University and Stonehill College

This award will create a regional integrated photonics hub centered at both Stonehill College and Bridgewater State University (BSU). The project will combine the complementary strengths, resources, and know-how of each institution to further technology, innovation, workforce training, and manufacturing in Massachusetts in Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs). SEMA LEAP will train and educate photonics industry technician-level and engineering workforce to support new economic growth and development in areas such as telecommunication and data-communication, precision measurements, biomedical sensing and imaging, optic and laser development, and auto-driving.

  • “Garment-Embedded Physiological Monitoring Platform” - $1,449,632– Human System Integration, Inc. (HSI) – Walpole, Mass.

Human Systems Integration will work with its university partner, UMass Lowell, to evolve its garment-embedded physiological monitoring platform. The goal of the project is for HSI to adapt and enhance this platform and make it configurable for the  integration of a broad suite of physiological and environmental sensors. These sensors will objectively measure, non-invasively monitor, and report medical-grade physiological and performance status of the wearer.  This award will help HSI, and emerging Massachusetts industry partners, to  establish a garment-embedded electronics supply chain for multiple products, applications and markets. The project at hand, focused on a physiological monitoring solution for Air Force pilots, offers a stepping stone towards the development and deployment of a chronic monitoring solution for sick and at-risk patients.
 
“We deeply appreciate the Baker-Polito Administration’s investment in our photonics engineering program,” said Bridgewater State University President Frederick W. Clark Jr., Esq. “This investment will create new and exciting opportunities for our students to gain skills in an emerging field that is making cutting edge changes in areas such as telecommunications, data communications, laser-based radar, and sensing. As most of our students work in Massachusetts after graduation, BSU will meet the current and growing workforce needs of photonics and optics companies in our state.”
 
“This award stems from the initiative and vision of our science faculty, who have worked tirelessly in partnership with colleagues around the Commonwealth and private industry to develop this innovative and timely area of expertise for the region. Stonehill is deeply committed to a liberal arts education that is reimagined for the 21st century. With this award, we are able to provide our students with yet another distinctive and rigorous program that prepares them to make an impact on the future of southeastern Massachusetts and beyond,” said Rev. John Denning, C.S.C., president of Stonehill College.
 
“Human Systems Integration is humbled and honored by the investment and faith that the M2I2 and the State of Massachusetts has placed in us,” said Brian Farrell, President of HSI, Inc. “This award helps us continue to develop and manufacture wearable electronics solutions that protect and save lives. It also enables us to expand our supply chain, technology and clinical partnerships in Massachusetts. Garment-based physiological monitoring expands the level and quality of information that can be extracted from the human body. It enables the development and manufacturing of innovative products and solutions for remote patient monitoring, and HSI is proud to be at the forefront of this industry for Massachusetts.”
 
“I am delighted to welcome the Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Housing & Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy to Bridgewater,” said Michael Dutton, Bridgewater Town Manager. “This announcement of grant money for the AIM Stonehill/BSU SEMA LEAP regional hub is great news for the entire southeast region of Massachusetts.  It will leverage the area’s great educational institutions, workforce potential, and location just south of Boston.  It is exactly these types of investments which reap exponential long-term benefits to all our communities, and the Baker-Polito administration has recognized the importance of these economic development initiatives as a means to true community development.”
 
“I am extremely pleased that the integrated photonics laboratory at Bridgewater State University and Stonehill College has been selected to receive this $3.8 million Advanced Manufacturing Grant,” said Senator Marc R. Pacheco.  “Intercollegiate collaboration is a powerful tool that enables our higher education institutions to combine resources and continue offering their students cutting-edge facilities.  With this Advanced Manufacturing Grant, scientific programs at Bridgewater State will remain at the forefront of technological innovation and I look forward to continuing my support for similar opportunities as they arise in the future.”
 
“Thank you to Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Polito and Secretary Kennealy for providing an Advanced Manufacturing award to Stonehill College and Bridgewater State University giving them the opportunity to combine complementary strengths, workforce training, and manufacturing in our region,” said State Senator Michael D. Brady.
 
“I am extremely excited that both Stonehill College and Bridgewater State University will now be participating in the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative,” stated Senator Walter F. Timilty. “Advanced manufacturing skills and knowledge are crucial in today’s workforce. This $3.8 million grant will allow these institutions of higher learning to further their students’ roles in this field.”
 
 “The $3.8 million grant awarded to the regional integrated photonics hub at Stonehill College and Bridgewater State University will boost photonics research and training in our community,” said Representative Claire Cronin.
 
“For three centuries, manufacturing along the Neponset River in East Walpole has been on the cutting edge of innovation. This state funding continues to incentivize technological and economic growth in our region while forging commercial partnerships with our state universities and armed forces,” said Representative John H. Rogers.

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About M2I2:
Launched by the Baker-Polito Administration in 2016, the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2) aims to help Massachusetts manufacturers adopt innovative new technologies and guides the state’s investment in the Manufacturing USA program. The Administration has committed $100 million-plus in funding to support M2I2 projects across the Commonwealth; the investments are managed by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. Through the creation of sector-specific Manufacturing USA Centers, M2I2 will advance innovation and job growth throughout the state through cross-collaboration among companies, universities, national labs, government, incubators, accelerators, and other academic and training institutions.

Media Contact:

Colleen Arons, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, colleen.arons@mass.gov

View the original press release on Mass.gov here.

Photos courtesy of Mackenzie Rubitschung, Bridgewater State University Class of 2021.