Boston Business Journal
By: Kelly J. O'Brien
The city of Lowell, once a center of the nation's textile industry, could reclaim that status if the city and its universities can help bring high-tech fabrics and embedded electronics to the market thanks to a state grant.
Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday announced $11.3 million worth of state funding is going to UMass Lowell for research and facilities related to high-tech fabrics.
Of that, $10 million will go toward building out the Fabric Discovery Center, an area intended to be full of advanced machines and materials where private sector teams can work with researchers to prototype and test new textile technologies. The center will be within the same building as the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub at 110 Canal St.
Another $1.3 million will support projects UMass Lowell has underway with partners like Raytheon and SI2 Technologies to develop hybrid, flexible electronics.
“Massachusetts is a competitive player in the global innovation economy because of our leadership in technology, strong workforce and educational institutions,” Baker said in a statement. “This investment will ensure we continue to see that success and growth outside of Greater Boston, and that Lowell will have an opportunity to return to the center of the textile industry and its future."
The state last week announced a grant of $2.2 million to support a Defense Fabric Discovery Center at MIT Lincoln Laboratory.