To address Massachusetts' changing business profile, the Office of Technical Assistance and Technology (OTA) has expanded its focus to serve high-growth life sciences, renewable energy and other burgeoning industries critical to the state's economic future. OTA's engineers and scientists offer a unique combination of scientific, engineering and business expertise related to toxics use prevention and reduction, pollution prevention, and energy and water conservation.

OTA's Expanded Focus on Life Sciences, Medical Products, Renewable Energy and Nanotechnology

Life Sciences

Governor Deval Patrick's signing of 2008 legislation that launched the $1Billion biotech initiative underscored the importance of the life sciences industry to Massachusetts' economy. OTA had been working with life sciences firms since 2005 when the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, in partnership with the Executive Office of Economic Development and Massachusetts Biotech Council, established a program to support the sector. As part of the initiative, OTA convened workshops to help local regulators understand the industry's environmental impacts. Workshops were conducted around two matrices that were based on existing industry permitting experience. Later, OTA was designated by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council as the state's lead agency for providing technical assistance to biotechnology companies and the office held permit training workshops in several cities. OTA is planning a 2009 "Green Chemistry" conference for the life sciences industry that will include sessions on process improvements, cleaner production strategies, and resource conservation.

Medical Products

Medical devices represent a prominent segment of the life sciences industry. In recent years, OTA published an "Environmental Guide for the Medical Device Industry in Massachusetts" intended to reduce environmental barriers and liabilities that hinder sector development. The guide is tailored to meet the unique needs of medical device manufacturers. It identifies pollution prevention concepts, resources and tools; identifies relevant environmental requirements and issues, and offers compliance assistance and guidance.

Renewable Energy

There are myriad benefits associated with renewable energy, including: cutting energy costs, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, staying competitive, and being a responsible neighbor. In 2008, OTA held a series of energy efficiency workshops that addressed "Renewable Energy Technologies and Financial Incentives," and a wide range of other issues to help industrial facilities conserve energy. OTA recently produced a fact sheet that addresses the most common questions regarding renewable energy in Massachusetts.

Nanotechnology

In 2007, Massachusetts became the first state to launch a public dialogue on nanotechnology by hosting a conference, "Safe Development of Nanotechnology." Led by OTA, the interagency conference focused on preventative steps to protect this fledgling industry - which could emerge as a future driver of the state's high-tech economy. OTA has established a "Safe and Green Nanotechnology" listserv to share industry insights and information. The office will collaborate with the Center for High-Rate Nanomanufacturing, the Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing and other organizations in hosting workshops to raise industry awareness of best management practices; and continues working with an interagency group to increase understanding of emerging nanotechnology issues.

This information is provided by the Office of Technical Assistance and Technology