The new Printed Electronics Research Collaborative (PERC) at UMass Lowell intends to position Massachusetts employers, large and small, to capitalize on the burgeoning printed and flexible electronics field, whether through direct development of products or as a piece of the supply chain. PERC will initially focus on supporting the state’s defense cluster in printed electronics, but long-term, these technologies are expected to also have a broad range of applications in fields including health care, telecommunications and renewable energy.
Printable electronics is currently a $16 billion global market and is projected to quadruple in 10 years, according to a 2014 report by IDTechEx.
“It is a privilege to announce today’s grant as another positive step forward for UMass Lowell, students and businesses across the Commonwealth. We have already seen great success stem from this partnership to fund research, support education and make new strides in innovation,” said Gov. Baker. “By connecting the incredible resources in our universities with the business community, the Commonwealth will continue to stimulate economic growth and create more good-paying jobs.”
The four-year grant award will be matched by $12 million in industry support and is being made as part of the Collaborative Research and Development Matching Grant Program, a $50 million dollar capital fund formed to support large-scale, long-term research projects that have high potential to spur innovation, cluster development and job growth in the Commonwealth. The fund was created as part of the 2012 Jobs Bill and is managed by the Innovation Institute at MassTech. Proposals are reviewed by an Investment Advisory Committee composed of executives from academia, industry, and the venture capital communities.
UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan and MassTech CEO Pamela Goldberg joined Gov. Baker at UMass Lowell’s Mark and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center, an 84,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art research facility where PERC will connect businesses with the expertise of UMass Lowell researchers. The MassTech grant will outfit laboratories and other research space at the Saab Center, also home to the Raytheon-UMass Lowell Research Institute, which will be among the participants in PERC. Other companies that have signed on include MicroChem of Westborough, Rogers Corp. of Burlington, SI2 Technologies of Billerica and Triton Systems of Chelmsford, and more are expected, according to Julie Chen, UMass Lowell vice provost for research.
“Our mission is to convene industry, academia and government to catalyze economic opportunity in regions and clusters around the Commonwealth,” said Pamela Goldberg, CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. “This project hits the mark on several fronts, including the potential to drive the development of innovative products and business growth. We are excited to partner with UMass Lowell and regional industry partners like Raytheon to expand R&D capacity and help advance this exciting new industry cluster.”
“UMass Lowell has decades of experience in partnering with businesses, large and small, to advance technologies and economic development. Not only does bringing our researchers together with innovators in industry stimulate economic growth, it offers our students unparalleled opportunities for experiential education,” Meehan said.