Photo of UMass Amherst graduate student and instructor Guanshi Zhang

Academic and Research Enrichment

At the University of Massachusetts, top-notch research programs are the cornerstone of an incomparable education

Above right: UMass Amherst graduate student and instructor Guanshi Zhang

Photo of Jack M. Wilson, Ph.D. President

“Central to the University’s mission is the attraction and retention of world-class faculty who, working together with top-notch students, continue to apply the University’s intellectual resources to solve global, national, and local problems.”

Jack M. Wilson, Ph.D. President

UMass produces more life sciences undergraduates than any other Massachusetts institution and this year conferred 710 biological/life sciences degrees across the five-campus system.

Sloan Foundation grant cultivates life sciences talent

Recent findings from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Talent Initiative (MLST) study “Growing Talent,” conducted by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute, identified current and emerging workforce trends pointing to life science as one of the fastest growing high-potential sectors of the Massachusetts economy.

Several recommendations emerged from the study, including the need to boost the state’s pipeline of residents seeking higher education degrees and careers in life sciences, as well as to further develop connections between industry and academia to maintain the Commonwealth’s position as a global life sciences leader.

The University of Massachusetts is developing Master’s level education and training programs that respond to the needs of this sector and for that, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a national leader in promoting higher education in science, recently recognized our efforts. UMass was awarded a $124,200 grant to develop up to 10 Professional Science Master (PSM) degrees, combining interdisciplinary academics, industry experience, and practical business and communications skills vital to the Massachusetts innovation economy. These include health informatics, biotechnology, and environmental service.

UMass produces more life sciences undergraduates than any other Massachusetts institution and this year conferred 710 biological/life sciences degrees across the five-campus system. Led by UMass Lowell Provost Ahmed Abdelal, UMass has convened a system-wide task force to strengthen its role in fostering the region’s scientific talent and currently is launching degree programs to meet a critical need for experienced scientists in today’s life sciences supercluster.

Photo of UMass Lowell Clinical Lab Sciences seniors Navadha Patel, Bhumi Upadhay, and Gerson Duarte

Above (L-R): UMass Lowell Clinical Lab Sciences seniors Navadha Patel, Bhumi Upadhay, and Gerson Duarte

UMass Lowell is at the forefront of this initiative, which offers four PSM options. Plans call for PSM courses that combine business and communications classes with internships in the life sciences industry, offered primarily through the internationally recognized UMassOnline.

UMass PSM degrees reaffirm the University’s dedication to educating students for the 21st century. The recent adoption of a Master’s degree in clinical sciences at the UMass Medical School is another example of this long-standing commitment. Guided by world-class research faculty, our advanced programs continue to prime the next generation of life science innovators.

The University of Massachusetts is a leader in research, education, and public service programs that advance knowledge and improve the lives of people throughout the state, the nation, and the world. UMass is a powerful research engine, with $489 million in research expenditures in Fiscal 2009 supported by sources that include the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health, corporate partners, and other federal, state, internal, and private sources. The University’s research expenditures in Fiscal 2008 (the most recent available comparison data) placed UMass 23rd among the nation’s 393 public universities that reported to the NSF.

The University’s research enhances a wide range of academic programs that enrich the student experience, spur economic growth, and feed the knowledge economy. With more than 35 nationally ranked programs across all fi ve of our campuses and extensive global programs that support study-abroad opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, UMass is leading the way in promoting innovative programs that encourage faculty across all disciplines to engage in research, teaching, and service.

Our thriving academic research environment attracts exceptional faculty members who are leading scholars in their fi elds and have received awards such as the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the American Book Award, and the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, widely known as the “American Nobel.” UMass Amherst, the University system’s flagship campus, is a “Top Producer of Fulbright Students” among research universities for the 2008–2009 academic year. In 2009, 18 UMass Amherst students applied for Fulbright scholarships and eight received them.

The UMass Medical School currently has on faculty five Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigators, one of the most prestigious and sought after scientific awards in the world, and two HHMI Early Career Scientists.

UMassOnline has achieved double-digit growth in both enrollments and revenues. For Fiscal 2009, the online division saw an 18 percent increase in enrollments and a 27 percent increase in revenue over its Fiscal 2008 results. Compared with the previous year, enrollments rose from 33,900 to 40,048 while revenues increased from $36.9 million to $46.8 million.