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Monday, July 3, 2023

Boosting Rhode Island biotech

Reed Delivers $1.2 million to Strengthen RI Biotech & Life Sciences Workforce

A URI College of Pharmacy student learns to use the advanced
equipment in the clean laboratories of the URI
Pharmaceutical Development Institute.
In an effort to support innovation opportunities for new and existing biotechnology and biopharmaceutical ventures in Rhode Island and the surrounding northeast biotech corridor, U.S. Senator Jack Reed is teaming up with the University of Rhode Island (URI) to boost workforce development programs.

Senator Reed delivered a $1,212,000 federal earmark to support facility and equipment upgrades for URI’s Pharmaceutical Development Institute (URI PDI) to strengthen teaching and training programs.

Flanked by URI President Marc B. Parlange; Dean of the College of Pharmacy Paul Larrat; researchers and industry partners, Senator Reed spoke of Rhode Island’s potential for being a hub for biotech and the importance of training the next generation of skilled workers for the biotech and biopharmaceutical industries. 

Following remarks, Senator Reed joined URI leadership for a tour of URI PDI’s facility and laboratory space, located on the ground floor the College of Pharmacy’s Avedisian Hall, to see how improvements and upgrades will enhance educational programming.

“Rhode Island is quickly becoming a hub for biotechnology. We have the essential building blocks: a strong research base; top flight institutions of higher education like our flagship, URI; and the best location in the nation. I’m proud to deliver this $1.2 million in federal funding to help our state build on the strategic advantages we already have and to ensure that local biotech firms have the trained professionals needed to support and sustain growth of this industry in Rhode Island,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee.

“Senator Reed is a strong champion for the University of Rhode Island and we are grateful for his leadership,” said Marc B. Parlange, president of the University of Rhode Island. 

“As the state's public flagship research institution, URI plays a critical role in developing the next generation workforce for the life sciences industry. Today's investment will expand training and workforce development capabilities of URI's Pharmaceutical Development Institute (PDI) to provide advanced technical training to address industry needs in the state and region.”

The facility and equipment upgrades made possible by this federal earmark will allow for URI PDI to strengthen their world-class teaching and training programs and make educational programs accessible to more Rhode Islanders.

Students in the enhanced programs will include those enrolled at the College of Pharmacy at the bachelors, masters, and doctoral level. Additionally, URI PDI aims to develop short term training programs in partnership with area pharmaceutical manufacturers and biotech startups to offer solutions for regional workforce development needs.

Projected enrollment in degree programs is expected to be about 75 students per year and 200 employed trainees per year.