Chamber News

August 16, 2019 Likes Comments

UMass Amherst to open Innovation Institute in N-Squared

Kathryn EllisAs part of its effort to spark innovation and entrepreneurship in the metro Boston area, UMass Amherst is expanding its renown UMass Amherst Innovation Institute (UMII) to the Mt. Ida campus in Newton.

The university has hired Kathryn Ellis, the former Economic Development Director for the City of Newton, to be director of the UMII, overseeing efforts in both Amherst and Newton.

"By opening an office for the Innovation Institute on our Newton campus, we are putting out the welcome mat for innovators in the Greater Boston region to collaborate with our researchers and our students," said Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy. "I am excited to welcome Kathryn Ellis to our team and have her deep connections to this work as we move forward with our plans for the Mount Ida campus."

Located in Newton, adjacent to the N2 Innovation District, and the tech-focused Route 128 corridor, the Mount Ida campus is growing its undergraduate career development programs with expanded access to internships and co-ops in the thriving Greater Boston area.

Academic programs at the Mount Ida campus are aligned with the increasing demand for talent in areas such as health care, business, computer science, and other STEM specialties.The campus will play a role in filling the talent pipeline that drives the Massachusetts innovation economy. Amenities on the Mount Ida Campus of UMass Amherst are available for use by all campuses in the UMass system.

Ellis spent two years as Newton's director of economic development where she also was a key part of the N2 Innovation District oversight board and a member of the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber’s Board of Directors. She replaces former UMII Director Jim Capistran, who retired in 2018 after 22 years of service.

“My goal with this job is to attract highly innovative companies who can take advantage of research and development tax credits as well as the core facilities at the Institute for Applied Life Sciences at UMass Amherst,” Ellis said.

Ellis responsibilities in Newton included the management of the Newton Innovation Center, a collaborative co-working space partnered with the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber and the City of Newton. With UMII now having offices on both the Amherst and Newton campuses, Ellis said there will be more opportunities for companies to co-exist on campus and provide live learning labs for students.

“We’re grateful to Kathryn for her service to the businesses in Newton and look forward to continuing to collaborate with her as she works to support bringing innovation to Newton, Needham and the N2 Innovation District in her new role,” said Chamber President Greg Reibman.



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