Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) announced today that it will join Boston’s Seaport District neighborhood as it expands its economic development efforts across the Commonwealth.
The prominent new location, at 303 Congress Street, places the university amidst some of the nation’s leading innovators and technology companies with whom WPI will look to create helpful and strategic partnerships around curricular and research opportunities. The seven year, lease goes into effect this month, and the 6,400 square-foot space is expected to open this fall.
“WPI is committed to advancing the important role that universities play in the state’s innovation economy,” said President Laurie Leshin. “We share a common interest and expertise with many of the most innovative companies and professionals working in the Commonwealth, and our presence in this neighborhood will allow us to build new partnerships, strengthen existing collaborations, and bring more opportunities back to our campus and to our home town of Worcester.”
The Seaport District has seen considerable growth in targeted areas of critical importance to WPI as major corporations move into the area. Most notably, GE, Amazon, and Red Hat have leased office space in recent months.
“Massachusetts is home to a very competitive market, and the Commonwealth is seeing remarkable growth in the tech sector. As those companies grow, access to - and development of - top talent will be a key priority for their success,” said Stephen Flavin, vice president and dean of academic and corporate engagement. “The Seaport District is playing a critical role in what has been dubbed ‘Mass Miracle 2.0.,’ and WPI will use this new space for industry-centric meetings, classes, projects, and events that are tailored to the interests and needs of our neighbors who are working in areas such as healthcare technology, robotics, cybersecurity, and big data. It will be a top priority to better serve these businesses and organizations by providing them with more convenient access to our high-caliber programs, and to connect them to our students and alumni. We will also work to shine a light on the potential and the expertise that exists right here in Worcester.”
Through its innovative project-based learning, strategic partnerships, and extensive research enterprise, WPI has moved to the forefront in the state’s innovation economy. In April, for example, the university launched PracticePoint at WPI, a pioneering healthcare initiative that will bring together research, development, and testing of revolutionary medical devices. Funded in part by a $5 million capital grant from Mass Technology Collaborative and matching funds from GE Healthcare and WPI, PracticePoint will provide a dedicated site for researchers, healthcare professionals, and device manufacturers to work together to create innovative cyber physical products for patients. Other partners include MITRE and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
The Seaport location will also accommodate WPI’s Boston Project Center. In recent years, students have engaged in a number of research activities in the city -- conducting significant hands-on projects aimed at solving real-world problems for community and industry partners. Sponsors have included the City of Boston, Boston Harbor Association, Mass. Department of Public Utilities, Mass. Department of Energy Resources, and the New England Aquarium. The office in the Seaport District will allow easier access to both government and non-government agencies as well as increase industry partnerships across the Commonwealth.
The new space is currently under renovation and is expected to open in the coming months. To celebrate the new location, the University is planning a series of welcoming events for its alumni, faculty, partners, and new neighbors.