Publication Date

1998

Comments

The Center for Economic Development at the University of Massachusetts, in Amherst, is part of the Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Department, and is funded by the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the University of Massachusetts.

Abstract

The Valley of Innovation is a new industrial region that is being formed as the result of recent technology transfers and significant growth in the biotechnology sector. The region includes part of western Massachusetts along with Central Connecticut and runs from north to south along the I-91 corridor, following the general borders of the Connecticut River Valley. The region extends from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, through Springfield, Massachusetts, and continues past Hartford, Connecticut, to New Haven, and down I-95 towards New York State.

Currently in embryonic form, the region has the potential to grow rapidly. It is nurtured by the technology transfers occurring at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, growth in the high technology and medical sectors in Springfield, Massachusetts, and a multitude of existing biotechnology facilities in the State of Connecticut. The city of Springfield, Massachusetts, can make important contributions to this synergy and reap substantial rewards as a key component within the Valley of Innovation.

This report examines the biotechnology industry and the potential for the City of Springfield to attract and nurture biotechnology firms in the Valley of Innovation. From interviews, case studies, and analysis of data on biotechnology firms and financing, the report finds that four critical factors are needed for biotechnology to thrive: sources of technology transfer, labor force, business climate, and infrastructure. Sources of technology transfer are institutions, such as universities, research institutes, teaching hospitals, and biotechnology firms, which create and share technical innovation. The labor force for biotechnology ranges from highly skilled professionals to semi-skilled technicians. A favorable business climate provides nascent companies with venture capital, streamlined regulatory procedures, financial incentives, custom built facilities, business expertise, and services tailored to the industry. The municipal infrastructure must match industrial space, waste disposal, water supply, access to transportation links, and a telecommunications capability to serve the industry.

The report includes a SWOT analysis of the City of Springfield in relation to these factors.

Recommendations for developing Springfield as a high technology center in the Valley of Innovation are provided in a range of short-term (one to three years), medium-term (three to five years), and long-term (six to ten years).

Pages

Section 1: Pages 1-151