New Bedford mayor wants to create marine science collaborative

Source: The Standard Times
NEW BEDFORD — Mayor Jon Mitchell wants to capitalize on the city’s natural affinity for the marine sciences by creating a collaborative institution that would bring together key research entities and commercial organizations from across the region, he said Friday.
That collaboration could spur job creation in the city as well as offer New Bedford an opportunity to change its “brand” by building its reputation as a research center, said Mitchell during a meeting with The Standard-Times’ editorial board on Friday.
“There’s no guarantees that this will work, but it’s not pie-in-the-sky,” he said.
Mitchell continued later: “You’ve got to think big. You’ve got to swing for the fences sometimes because sometimes you’ll connect, and this is an attempt to do just that.”
According to Mitchell, New Bedford sits in the middle of a marine-science cluster that spreads from Groton, Conn., to Woods Hole.
He envisions establishing an institution — tentatively called the Center for Maritime Collaboration and Partnership — that would be based around UMass Dartmouth and would bring in other research organizations, like the Naval Undersea Warfare Center and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.
Mitchell also wants this institution to bridge the gap between academia and industry by including commercial partners such as Lockheed Martin and Siemens, both companies with a presence in the region.
“Research institutions need to be able to commercialize their research … and turn it into products and to capitalize on the intellectual property that’s generated in the research process,” he said.
According to Mitchell, his administration has been working on this idea since early in his tenure, and he has already run it by several people, including Robert L. Caret, president of the University of Massachusetts system.
Mitchell said that Caret liked the idea and thought it aligned well with his plans to develop centers of excellence across the UMass system.
“The payoff would be very big,” said Mitchell. “To really start to build out a marine science campus in this city … I think would benefit the city in the long run.”
June 02, 2012 12:00 AM
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