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New Bedford perfect for new Federal Research Agency headquarters

Massachusetts is competing to host the new Advanced Research Projects in Health Agency (ARPA-H) headquarters for biomedical research. Governor Charlie Baker and members of the higher education and policy communities joined leaders of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council on Monday to formally announce the Commonwealth’s interest in hosting ARPA-H.

The Hill describes the $6.5 billion initiative as “one of the most exciting initiatives proposed by President Biden in his full budget request to Congress for fiscal year 2022.” The Hill reports that ARPA-H “must take inspiration from the Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA) of the same name, which has proven successful in accelerating breakthrough, field-ready technologies for the military.”

Town of New Bedford

Town of New Bedford

Massachusetts could face stiff opposition as it works to attract ARPA-H, but already has significant approval. The National Law Review (NLR) endorsed Massachusetts to host ARPA-H, saying the Bay State is “among the regions with the most compelling case to make” to host the agency.

NLR states, “Massachusetts is already home to a thriving quasi-governmental state agency, The Massachusetts Life Science Center (MLSC), whose mission complements ARPA-H.” He says, “Given Massachusetts’ track record of such breakthroughs and the collaborative environment among universities, hospitals, state and local governments across the state, and life science industries, the Bay State is a natural fit.”

Jim Phillips/TSM

Jim Phillips/TSM

Massachusetts should compete for ARPA-H and offer southeast Massachusetts as the location if the Commonwealth is chosen to host the new agency.

New Bedford is seeking tenants for its new advanced manufacturing campus on Hathaway Road and will have a commuter rail to Boston completed before construction begins on ARPA-H.

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New Bedford’s highway system, airport, and commuter rail make the advanced manufacturing campus accessible and would help divert traffic from the Boston area while creating jobs in Southeast Massachusetts economies.

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