UNH wins grant to boost biotech workforce

NH CREATES initiative seeks to build ‘educated’ pipeline

Unh LogoThe University of New Hampshire has received a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to help build a workforce for the state’s growing biotechnology sector.

The project, NH CREATES the Future: the NH Collaborative for Regenerative Medicine Education and Training for Engineers and Scientists of the Future, will engage middle and high school teachers and students in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth, Dover and Barrington as well as Lawrence, Mass., to develop a pipeline to support the state’s biotechnology workforce needs.

NH CREATES will facilitate collaboration among middle and high schools, higher education and the region’s biotechnology industry, including the Manchester-based Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute, the national hub for the regenerative medicine and biotechnology industry.

The five-year $1.2 million grant, funded by a National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award, will be used to enhance STEM education to up to 1,400 students each year from the state’s most ethnically diverse school districts as well as the Lawrence (Mass.) Family Development Charter School, which is 100% Latinx.

“NH CREATES is a training mechanism to supply the regenerative medicine and biotechnology industry with an educated workforce pipeline so that, in turn, this burgeoning industry can fulfill its potential to cure disease,” said Carmela Amato-Wierda, associate professor of materials science and principal investigator on the grant. “We want to educate middle and high school students about regenerative medicine and instill excitement about how we need their future contributions to propel this field forward in the years to come.”

According to Amato-Wierda, 78% of the state’s biotechnology industry reports a shortage of skilled workers, and 25% of the current biotechnology workforce is over the age of 55.

A two-week summer institute will provide teacher training to middle and high school teachers to develop and deliver formal curriculum about core biomedical concepts relevant to regenerative medicine and biotechnology.

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