Massachusetts university to lead "blue economy" corridor effort

Published on
September 17, 2018

A Massachusetts university received a USD 600,000 (EUR 517,799.90) grant in early September from the U.S. Department of Commerce to aid in the development of a “blue economy” corridor along the state’s southeast coast.

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth will use the funding from the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration to bring colleges, industry, and civic groups together to determine how they can attract marine technology-focused companies to the region as well as more research funding. 

Earlier this year, the university brought more than 100 business, public-sector, and educational leaders together to discuss the subject. That meeting led to the release of a whitepaper last month announcing the SouthCoast Blue Economy Corridor. The project seeks to create a branding campaign for the SouthCoast region, which includes the Port of New Bedford and such cites as Fall River and Dartmouth, and attract businesses that will bring a diverse set of permanent high-wage jobs to the area. 

The term “blue economy,” per the World Bank, is used for initiatives where communities leverage ocean resources in sustainable ways to promote economic development and cleaner waters. 

“Our region’s economy has been driven by its proximity to the ocean for centuries,” UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert Johnson said in a news release. “Now, with the nation’s top fishing port, an emerging offshore wind industry, and a growing marine technology sector, the potential for economic growth along Interstate 195 is great. I want to thank congressmen Bill Keating and Joe Kennedy and the delegation for their advocacy and encouragement in moving this project forward and assure them that UMass Dartmouth is prepared to lead this effort.”

Both Keating and Kennedy thanked UMass Dartmouth for bringing the stakeholders together.

“This grant will allow the SouthCoast to maximize the potential of its burgeoning Blue Economy and will spur growth in the region by strategic investment in the marine science sector,” Keating said.

Added Kennedy: “With its robust marine resources, top-tier workforce and long tradition of innovation, the SouthCoast is uniquely positioned to drive our Commonwealth and country’s blue economy.”

Photo courtesy of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

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