Big federal boost for textiles, materials science research
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressmen Barney Frank, James McGovern and William Delahunt, and Senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry announced today that the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth National Textile Center (NTC) program will receive a funding increase of over $300,000 in 2006 as part of the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Commerce.
The legislation, which was approved in the House yesterday and is expected to pass the Senate today, includes, at the request of the 5 Members of Congress, a sum of $13 million for the NTC. Under a formula that governs how the monies are distributed to the 8 NTC member institutions, UMass Dartmouth will receive approximately $1.2 million of that total, up from $858,000 in 2005. In the previous two years, the overall NTC budget was $10 million, and the 2006 funding levels are the highest ever, both for the overall program, and for the UMass Dartmouth center.
"I am pleased that my colleagues and I were able to work together to help secure this increase in funding," Congressman Frank said. "While the local textile industry continues to face serious challenges because of unfair foreign competition, promoting the development of cutting edge textile and apparel technologies is a key strategy for meeting those challenges. The NTC program at UMass does a great job of bringing together talented researchers and area companies to further that goal. Because federal trade policies have a pronounced effect on the region's textile industry, I think it is entirely appropriate to continue pushing for the kind of federal financial support provided through the NTC, in particular given UMass Dartmouth's fine stewardship of the program."
"In a very difficult budget year, it's all the more gratifying that our colleagues have recognized the importance of the work being done at UMass Dartmouth and the other National Textile Center partners, and approved our request for record funding," Senator Kennedy said. "We're proud of the innovative approaches UMass Dartmouth and its industry partners have pursued locally, and we're committed to supporting their efforts for years to come."
"Textiles are part of our history, our economy and our future," Senator Kerry said. "The creation of jobs and new textile business opportunities depends upon access to cutting edge technology. Providing this funding for UMass Dartmouth will help Massachusetts textile firms to compete in the world marketplace."
"The textile industry is not only a part of Southeastern Massachusetts' past - it can and should be a part of our future," Rep. McGovern said. "I'm very pleased that by working together we were able to increase funding for the National Textile Center. UMass Dartmouth does a tremendous job with this program."
"This investment will yield significant educational and economic development dividends for the community," Congressman Delahunt said.
UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack expressed her appreciation for the funds, noting "this investment in the National Textile Center is an investment in the economy of Southeastern Massachusetts. By supporting the cutting-edge research of our faculty, the center accelerates the development of new ideas leading to new industries and creating real jobs. UMass Dartmouth, the region and the Commonwealth are fortunate to have a Congressional delegation that is willing to fight for investment in this kind of innovation.''
The National Textile Center program has been responsible for over $300 million in economic development since its establishment 13 years ago, with over 150 projects completed, and more than 1,500 students having participated in its programs. In addition to assisting U.S. companies in work involving niche textile products and markets, and helping to promote new inventory approaches and innovative business models, the NTC member schools are also working on developing expertise in homeland security areas such as clothing offering protection against chemical and biological hazards. At UMass Dartmouth, examples of NTC sponsored initiatives include research on nanoparticles to be used as less toxic fire retardants; bio-active bandages that maintain sterility; and knitted stents for repair of damaged arteries.
Peter Kovar (Frank) 202-225-9400
Melissa Wagoner (Kennedy) 202-224-2633
Setti Warren (Kerry) 617-565-8519
Michael Mershon (McGovern) 202-225-6101
Steve Schwadron (Delahunt) 202-225-3111