The new Science and Innovation Center. Courtesy photo.
The Nashua area is a hotbed of biotech and health care businesses with growing workforce demands. To meet that need, Nashua’s Rivier University invested $19 million in a new Science and Innovation Center that opened for the fall semester.
A cornerstone of Rivier’s strategic plan, the 36,000-square-foot facility replaces a 60-year-old science building and is meant to usher in a new era of innovation, says Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, the university’s president. She points out the center is stocked with advanced instrumentation, especially for those majoring in biology, biotechnology, nursing and public health, that students will eventually use in their workplaces.
Buley says Rivier is looking to eventually double enrollment in its science majors and has an advisory council that helps discern biology and biotech needs in business. “There are 900 biology and biotech jobs that come up in a search [of the Nashua area], and 300 are entry level,” she adds, noting the pandemic has raised the profile of such work.
Sister Paula Marie Buley demonstrates how the touch screen wall works. Photo by Matthew J. Mowry.
Beyond the center, Rivier developed special financial programs to incentivize students to pursue science degrees. In October, Buley announced a new Biology Innovators Grant created with the help of a former graduate’s $350,000 bequest.
In addition to a competitive financial aid package, incoming 2021 students pursuing biology and biotech degrees will each be awarded a $3,000 grant, renewable for the next three years. One-time grants are also available to incoming 2021 nursing students. Also, any student seeking early acceptance for fall 2021 will receive up to a $2,500 grant.
Designed to create a collaborative environment, the Science and Innovation Center offers informal gathering areas as well as eight labs with windows to the hallways so passersby can see the work being done.
The lobby wall has an interactive map of the facility, a live feed about the latest science news as well as live views of lab work in progress. “The space will evolve as technology evolves,” Buley says.
For more information, visit rivier.edu.