For Immediate Release - February 20, 2013

GOVERNOR PATRICK AND COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT SANTOS SIGN SCIENCE AND INNOVATION MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

Bogota, Colombia – February 20, 2013 – As part of the Massachusetts-Colombia Innovation Partnership Mission, Governor Deval Patrick and President of the Republic of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to formalize collaboration between Massachusetts and Colombia in the areas of science, technology and innovation, including in the life sciences, technology and clean energy industries.

“Massachusetts is a leader in the life sciences, clean energy and other innovation economy sectors,” said Governor Patrick. “In order to maintain that edge, we must position ourselves for success in growing markets, like Colombia, to drive job growth and catalyze international investment.”

“I am aware of how important the innovation ecosystem, technology, research are to Massachusetts and they are also important to Colombia. The state of Massachusetts has a lot to offer to Colombia and Colombia has much to offer to the United States and the state of Massachusetts,” said President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon at the MOU signing ceremony, thanking Governor Patrick for his visit.

Last year, the United States signed a free trade agreement with Colombia, opening up an estimated $1.1 billion market for U.S. exports. Colombia has a thriving innovation, life sciences and clean energy economy, and this MOU will strengthen the Commonwealth’s partnership with Colombia and help create collaboration that will spur job creation in Massachusetts.

“As our innovation economy grows, companies based in Massachusetts will look around the world for new avenues for partnership and progress,” said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki. “This Memorandum of Understanding will create new opportunities for Massachusetts and Colombia and highlights the common links between our economies.”

The agreement signed today will enhance both scientific and technological development and economic activity in and between the residents of Colombia and Massachusetts by promoting collaboration and partnerships among public and private institutions, universities, research centers, non-governmental organizations and citizens. Included in the MOU is a call for partnerships in health and several life sciences industry sectors, including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and tropical disease research.

“No one country or region can solve the challenge of developing the next generation of  drugs and medical devices on its own,” said Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., President & CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the agency charged with implementing Governor Patrick’s 10-year, $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative. “The breakthroughs of tomorrow will only be possible through collaboration like that which we hope to foster between Massachusetts and Colombia.”

The agreement also articulates collaboration on clean energy issues including non-conventional renewable energy, smart grids, energy efficiency, demand response and water innovation technology.

“International connections like these will drive our global clean energy innovation ecosystem forward and create economic opportunities for Massachusetts businesses,” said Massachusetts Clean Energy Center CEO Alicia Barton.

"The innovation economy stretches beyond the borders of Massachusetts,” said CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative Pamela Goldberg. “Working collaboratively with our colleagues in Colombia will only strengthen the Commonwealth’s position as a leader in innovation.”

Additionally, the MOU outlines partnerships in information technology sectors including aerospace, security technology, and health IT; and collaboration in the areas of transportation, urban development and agriculture.

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