For Immediate Release - December 01, 2011

GOVERNOR PATRICK SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH CHILEAN PRESIDENT SEBASTIÁN PIÑERA TO GROW INNOVATION ECONOMY PARTNERSHIPS

Memorandum of Understanding Signing
(Photo: José Manuel de la Maza/Office of the President of Chile)

SANTIAGO, CHILE -- Thursday, December 1, 2011 -- Governor Deval Patrick today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera to expand collaboration between Massachusetts and Chile in the innovation economy, with a focus on growing jobs and opportunities in the areas of clean energy, biotechnology and education.

"Today, we take a new step to ensure our mutual prosperity and leverage the talents of our uniquely skilled workforces," said Governor Patrick. "I am proud to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with President Piñera to promote collaboration across our innovation economies. This agreement will strengthen our ties to our partners in Chile and help support job growth in both Massachusetts’ and Chile’s innovation industries."

The MOU with Chile is the product of a meeting between Governor Patrick and President Piñera in Boston on Sept. 23, 2011, which led to President Piñera extending an official invitation for Governor Patrick to visit Chile. President Piñera said he signed the agreement with "great joy, great commitment and great hope" -- praising Massachusetts for its "world-class leadership" in clean energy, biotechnology and education.

The MOU enhances economic activity between Massachusetts and Chile, focusing on the three core areas.

Clean Energy: In the area of clean energy, collaboration will focus on renewable energy, such as marine energy, smart grid technology, energy efficiency and energy storage. To keep up with projected economic growth, it is estimated that Chile will need to nearly triple its annual power output by 2030. Renewable energy will provide a significant portion of Chile’s total energy matrix, with the government’s stated target of producing 20% of the country’s electricity from wind, geothermal, solar, biomass, biofuels and other sources of energy. Massachusetts is a national leader in clean energy and energy efficiency, suited to meet the demands of global markets like Chile. Massachusetts has more than 4,900 clean energy companies employing 64,000 people and projects a 15 percent job growth rate over the next year, providing ample opportunity for collaboration.

“This partnership will help foster relationships between the Commonwealth and the Republic of Chile in clean energy areas with shared strengths,” said Massachusetts Clean Energy Center CEO Patrick Cloney. “We look forward to collaborating and partnering with Chile in clean tech projects as well as helping Massachusetts companies find opportunities in Chile.”

Biotechnology: Another main area of concentration is biotechnology, with particular emphasis on food and medical biotechnology. Chile has an emerging biotechnology cluster and as a global leader in biotechnology research & development, Massachusetts is a primary area of interest for the life sciences sector in Chile, both in the delivery of treatments and in agricultural biotechnology that increase food quality and yield. Massachusetts-headquartered companies account for about 10 percent of the U.S. drug development pipeline and five percent of the global pipeline. As host of the BIO International Convention in 2012, the Commonwealth also has the unique opportunity to leverage its global connections in the industry with countries like Chile.

“Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology and the life sciences, but to maintain and strengthen that status we need to engage the rest of the world,” said Susan Windham Bannister, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. “This Memorandum of Understanding will facilitate collaboration with a country that has a growing life sciences cluster, to create opportunities that will lead to concrete scientific and economic benefits for both regions.”

“This agreement enhances our partnership with Chile and establishes the framework to further strengthen the Commonwealth’s innovation economy and drive job growth,” said Pamela Goldberg, CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. “We look forward to the opportunity to promote collaboration between our technology sectors to achieve mutual prosperity and long-term economic success.”

Education: The focus on education will include graduate and post-graduate studies at colleges and universities and will reinforce school-level education programs through stronger teacher leadership, second-language proficiency and out-of school activities. The UMass Dartmouth School of Marine Science recently entered an agreement with the Florida International University Applied Research Center and the Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile to collaborate on research and education projects.

“This agreement is an important step forward and will assist all of us as we seek to forge closer ties with Chile,” said University of Massachusetts President Robert L. Caret. “We at UMass are pursuing a number of academic and research collaborations with universities in Chile and this agreement will move that process forward. I commend Governor Patrick for taking on an important leadership role in an area that has significant educational and economic promise for the Commonwealth.”

Massachusetts and Chile enjoy a $118 million bi-lateral trade relationship, with $62 million in Massachusetts exports to Chile, which is regularly ranked as one of Latin America’s best places for doing business.

In Massachusetts, a number of state entities will be involved in the MOU and its progress, including the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the Executive Office of Education, and the University of Massachusetts system. In Chile, the Republic’s National Scientific and Technological Research Commission, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Energy will play lead roles in the Memorandum.

Governor Patrick and his official delegation today kicked off their two-day agenda in Chile. Prior to signing the MOU, Governor Patrick met with U.S. Ambassador to Chile Alejandro Wolff. Today the Governor is also scheduled to deliver remarks at an official luncheon hosted by Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Fernando Schmidt; attend a meeting with Minister of Energy Rodrigo Alvarez; and participate in a discussion session with the President of the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research Jose Miguel Aguilera.

From December 4-9, 2011, the Innovation Economy Mission will make stops in Brasilia, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro, visiting Brazilian companies, universities and government leaders to highlight all that Massachusetts has to offer to Brazil. The mission will focus on creating jobs in the life sciences, IT, clean energy, financial services and education sectors, while solidifying the already strong Massachusetts-Brazil connection.

 

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