Ernest E. Just Life Sciences Initiative

Program Overview

It is essential that our life sciences ecosystem values and embraces a diverse workforce. It is not only about equal representation, it is about the strong business case, the bottom line, and ensuring the next big breakthroughs to save lives and improve patient outcomes. That’s why here in Massachusetts, we know that the strongest life sciences sector is a diverse one.

The Massachusetts life Sciences Center (MLSC) has partnered with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) on the Ernest E. Just Life Sciences Initiative , which will create internship opportunities in the Boston-area for students enrolled in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) through the MLSC’s Internship Challenge. The internships will take place during the summer of 2022 but companies will begin selecting their interns as early as fall 2021. Beyond a paid internship opportunity, the program will match each student with a professional mentor and ensure students receive guidance, training, and a welcoming community of peers and leaders. Above all, students will gain valuable experience and a network of professionals to pave a path for a fulfilling career in the life sciences.

Impact from HBCU Schools

Black professionals face underrepresentation in STEM fields, but HBCUs help close that gap. In 2019, 27 percent of all Black STEM graduates received HBCU degrees. Between 1995-2004, 46 percent of Black woman STEM degree-holders graduated from an HBCU. At the doctoral level, nearly 30 percent of Black graduates with a doctorate in science or engineering attended an HBCU.

HBCU students have an advantage long past graduation. A whopping 25 percent of African American graduates with STEM degrees come from HBCUs. Eight HBCUs were among the top 20 institutions to award the most science and engineering bachelor’s degrees to black graduates from 2008-2012.

Though HBCUs make up only three percent of the country’s colleges and universities, they enroll 10 percent of all African American students and produce almost 20 percent of all African American graduates.

Connect with us to Learn More

If you have further questions regarding the application process, please email: internship@masslifesciences.com.

STEM Equipment and Professional Development Grant Program

Program Overview

The MLSC seeks to further advance and expand life sciences education at Massachusetts public high schools and middle schools through implementation of project and inquiry-based curriculum. Through this program, MLSC awards grant funding to schools and curriculum providers for the purpose of teacher professional development and the purchase of equipment, materials, supplies, and technology needed to support new or expanded curriculum. Funding will enable schools to educate students in real-world scenarios that will prepare them for career opportunities in the life sciences. Funding for teacher professional development will ensure that educators receive the technical training needed to effectively use newly acquired equipment and technology.

Applicants can request grant funding of up to $200,000 (up to $100,000 per high school and up to $50,000 per middle school) for capital expenses (including equipment, materials, supplies, and technology), and up to $40,000 (up to $20,000 per school) for professional development.

Investments made through this program seek to expand access to STEM equipment, curriculum, and professional development, increase educational equity and help close the achievement and opportunity gaps, train a diverse STEM workforce pipeline, support the implementation of Massachusetts Science, Technology, and Engineering Standards, increase student achievement and interest in STEM, increase awareness of life sciences careers, improve college & career readiness, and leverage partnerships.

Eligibility & Evaluation

Applicants must be at least one of the following:

  • Vocational technical high school as determined by Chapter 74 of the General Laws of Massachusetts or a comprehensive public high school with a life sciences Chapter 74 program.
  • Public middle schools or high schools (including charter schools) located in one of the following “Gateway Cities” as determined by Section 3A of Chapter 23A of the General Laws of Massachusetts: Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Quincy, Revere, Salem, Springfield, Taunton, and Westfield, and Worcester.
  • Public high schools or middle schools (including charter schools) with a student population of at least 25% classified as “low income” by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
  • Non-profit curriculum provider, with a presence in Massachusetts, delivering STEM curriculum and teacher professional development to schools that meet any of the above-stated criteria.

For schools belonging to a district, the district must be the applicant and only one application can be submitted per school district. Districts must submit applications that reflect district-wide resource needs and promote curriculum alignment.

Applications will be evaluated based on the ability of the proposed curriculum to support a trained workforce suitable for employment in the life sciences. Successful proposals will explain how the requested equipment and supplies will create learning opportunities that are aligned with the needs of the life sciences industry. Proposals should explain how the requested equipment and professional development will enable schools to provide curriculum, instruction and student learning experiences that align with Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Learning Standards relevant to the life sciences. The MLSC will consider the qualifications of the team, the ability to meet an educational need within selected school districts, and the budget.

The application for FY’23 grants will be available the first week of January 2022. The deadline to apply is March 31, 2022 at 12:00 p.m.

Resources

Solicitation

Program Handout

Applicants are required to create an account prior to accessing the application. If you already have an account, please log in to begin the application.

Impact on the Ecosystem

The MLSC has invested more than $21.5 million in equipment and professional development funding in over 240 high schools and middle schools throughout Massachusetts. Funding has served schools in all 14 Massachusetts counties and all 26 Gateway Cities, as well as all vocational-technical high schools with a life sciences program. Moreover, more than half of students attending eligible schools have gained access to new equipment and 33 percent of all Massachusetts public school students attend a school that has received an MLSC grant.

Connect with us to Learn More

If you have any questions regarding the application process, e-mail: equip@masslifesciences.com.

Project Onramp

Program Overview

As part of an ongoing and strategic effort to support the development of a diverse workforce talent pipeline for the life sciences industry, the MLSC partnered with MassBio, MassBioEd, Life Science Cares, and Bottom Line to launch Project Onramp. The pilot program encouraged life sciences employers to hire first generation black and latinx interns who are first-generation college students and students from low-income backgrounds. The program goal is to help underserved students start their careers in life sciences by matching them with paid summer internships of up to 12 weeks.

Project Onramp is partnering with Bottom Line, a nationally acclaimed nonprofit that helps students from low-income backgrounds get into college and successfully graduate. Bottom Line will provide students with one-on-one support every step of the way as they participate in what could be a life-changing summer experience.

Eligibility & Evaluation

Eligible companies of 100 employees or fewer may be able to apply for reimbursement of up to $8,160 per intern through the MLSC Internship Challenge.

Resources

Project Onramp Website

Sponsor an Intern

2020 Project Onramp Wrap-Up

Impact on the Ecosystem

Diversity is key to our state’s competitiveness and the MLSC is proud to work alongside the industry to ensure the sciences become more inclusive. Project Onramp is breaking down barriers and facilitating students on a pathway to success—while helping life sciences companies build a more diverse talent pipeline for the growing needs of the industry.  These internship opportunities serve as a stepping-stone to a rewarding career for a talent pool that has typically had difficulty gaining access to the life science industry. The program will give the students – many of them the first in their families to attend college – hands-on experience and a valuable start towards a career in biotechnology. It will also help the growing Massachusetts life sciences companies fill the 12,000 positions estimated in the sector by 2023.  In its pilot year, the Project Onramp secured 52 summer internships with 35 companies and aims to secure 75 internships this year.

Connect with us to Learn More

If you have any questions email, Lila Neel, with Life Sciences Cares, at lila@lifesciencecares.org.

Internship Challenge

Program Overview

Investing in the next generation of life science professionals is at the core of how we fulfill our mission. The Internship Challenge enhances the talent pipeline for the Massachusetts life sciences industry by creating hundreds of new internship opportunities each year for college students and recent graduates interested in life sciences careers. The workforce development program connects employers with prospective interns through an online platform and enables eligible companies to pay their interns for up to twelve weeks by subsidizing intern wages.

Internships can be part or full time and can take place throughout the 12-month program year, which runs from May 1 through April 30 of the following year. The MLSC will reimburse eligible companies for pay rates of up to $17 per hour for a total reimbursement of up to $8,160 per intern.

Impact on the Ecosystem

The Internship Challenge embodies our belief in the power of experiential learning to cultivate a workforce pipeline.  As the longest-running program at the MLSC, the Internship Challenge has expanded the pool of prospective employees who have practical experience, increased opportunities for mentoring, and enabled more students from across the Commonwealth to explore careers in the life sciences industry.  This initiative has reached every region of our state to the benefit of the diverse and talented young people. 

The program creates new internship opportunities for college students and recent graduates by enabling small companies, of 100 employees or less, to hire paid interns. Since the program’s inception in 2009, the MLSC has funded more than 5,000 internships with more than 920 companies for students from 250 different academic institutions. Nearly 40 percent of interns that completed college were offered employment directly following their internship. The Internship Challenge has grown to be the largest state-sponsored STEM internship program in the U.S. and serves as a model for similar programs across the country.

As part of our commitment to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the life sciences workforce, MLSC also partners with Project Onramp and the UNCF Ernest E. Just Initiative to support internship opportunities for underrepresented students.

Eligibility Requirements

Resources

Intern Applicant Account Registration

New Company Account Registration

Students and companies already registered can log in here to access the application.

FAQs for Interns

FAQs for Host Companies

Program Handout

Connect with us to Learn More

If you have further questions regarding the application process, please email: internship@masslifesciences.com.

High School Apprenticeship Challenge

Program Overview

The High School Apprenticeship Challenge facilitates and funds paid internships for underrepresented and low income high school students throughout Massachusetts. The program creates over 100 new internship opportunities each year by subsidizing intern wages for small life sciences companies and academic researchers to enable them to hire paid interns. The program also offers a pre-internship laboratory training program for select school districts that provides rigorous biotechnology/biomedical and professional skills development.

The MLSC reimburses eligible host organizations up to $3,600 per intern, based on $15.00 per hour for six weeks of full-time work. Internships can be part-time or full-time and must take place between May 2022 and April 2023.

Impact on the Ecosystem

Since the program first launched in 2016, the MLSC has supported more than 470 internships at more than 110 life sciences companies and research institutions. Interns have represented 138 Massachusetts high schools and 325 students have participated in MLSC-sponsored lab training programs designed to better prepare them for internships. The program has been offered in Brockton, New Bedford, Worcester, and Cambridge (serving Boston, Cambridge, and Everett students) in partnership with the LEAH Knox Scholars Program.

The program seeks to create paid work-based learning opportunities for underrepresented youth, supplement life science education with rigorous OST training, foster relationships between economically disadvantaged schools and life sciences employers, develop students’ professional workplace skills, increase awareness of life sciences careers, and build a diverse STEM workforce pipeline.

Eligibility Requirements

Resources

Program Handout

Applicants are required to create an account prior to accessing the application. If you already have an account, please log in to begin the application.

Connect with us to Learn More

If you have questions regarding the application process, please email: internship@masslifesciences.com.

Data Science Internship Program

Program Overview

The Data Science Internship Program focuses on increasing the availability of data science talent in the life sciences. The program creates new internship opportunities for qualified candidates, including those at the Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral levels, by enabling research institutions and companies to hire paid interns for up to six months. The program connects employers with prospective interns through an online platform and reimburses eligible companies (100 or fewer employees in Massachusetts; no more than 250 globally) and research institutions for intern wages. Companies with greater than 100 FTEs in Massachusetts are also encouraged to use the portal to search for unsubsidized interns.

The program is intended to provide opportunities that introduce interns to applications of advanced data analytics and data science to the life sciences. Prospective interns must demonstrate through their applications that they are proficient in advanced analytics skills and technologies based on their work experience and/or academic training. Internships can be part or full time and can take place for companies any time during the 12-month program year, which runs from May 1 through April 30 of the following year. For research institutions, there is no specific program year. Candidates looking for an internship will submit an online application, which includes their resume and identifies relevant skills. There is no application deadline since internship placements are rolling. Approved employers will review applications and contact candidates directly if they are interested in hiring them for an internship.

Through this program, the MLSC also seeks to increase access to internships for those traditionally underrepresented in the data science field, particularly those identifying as women, Black, Indigenous, and/or Latinx.

Impact on the Ecosystem

The Data Science Internship Program is designed to respond to the rapidly increasing demand for data science talent by expanding the pool of prospective employees who have practical experience and enabling individuals with data science skills to explore life sciences careers in Massachusetts.

The program also contributes to development of a robust and diverse life sciences workforce by providing new opportunities for students pursuing data science and related majors, engaging research institutions and industry in recruiting from a global talent pool, and increasing awareness of career pathways in life sciences to compete for talent with the tech industry. Since the program launched in 2020, more than 60 companies and research institutions hosted nearly 100 interns from 30 different colleges and universities.

Eligibility Requirements

Resources/Application

Companies and prospective interns must first create an account in our application portal in order to submit an application:
Intern Registration
Company Registration

If you already have an account, please log in here to access the application.

Research Institutions are asked to email DataScience@masslifesciences.com to register.

Program Handout

Connect with us to Learn More

If you have questions regarding the application process, please email: internship@masslifesciences.com.