Company Notebook

Company Notebook

UMass Ranks Among Best in World for Patents Awarded

BOSTON — Solidifying its reputation as a world-class research and innovation leader, UMass ranks 37th on the “Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Patents in 2018” list released by the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and the Intellectual Property Owners Assoc. (IPO). This is the sixth consecutive year UMass has landed on the prestigious list, and the university rose eight places in this year’s rankings. With 58 patents awarded in calendar year 2018, UMass ranks first among public universities in New England, third overall in New England, and 30th overall in the U.S. “These rankings reflect the significance and the entrepreneurial opportunity of the research enterprise at UMass,” President Marty Meehan said. “Every day, our renowned faculty are unlocking new discoveries and creating new intellectual property with the possibility of creating new products and companies right here in Massachusetts.” In addition to patent awards, UMass filed 203 invention disclosures, executed 32 licensing deals, and launched eight startup companies in fiscal year 2018. “These 58 patents, and the jump in our ranking, are an excellent indicator of the strength of our entrepreneurial activity,” said Katie Stebbins, vice president for Economic Development in the UMass President’s Office. “What these numbers show is that UMass is one of the best in the world at developing world-class research and delivering it to the marketplace.” UMass is the fourth-largest research university in New England, with more than $650 million in annual research and development. Founded in 2010, the NAI is a nonprofit organization of universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutions with more than 4,000 members. The IPO is a trade association of owners of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets founded in 1972. The NAI and IPO have published the “Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Patents” report annually since 2013. Rankings are compiled by calculating the number of utility patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which list a university as the first assignee on the issued patent.

The University of Massachusetts also ranked 71st on the Reuters list of the “World’s Most Innovative Universities.” The Reuters ranking highlights the educational institutions doing the most to “advance science, invent new technologies, and help drive the global economy.”

Baystate Medical Center Awarded $3,949,912 from Mass. Life Sciences Center

SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Medical Center has been awarded $3,949,912 in grant funding from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) in a competitive program designed to sustain the Commonwealth’s competitive edge in advancing human health. “This support will expand our capacity to perform efficient and compliant clinical trials by building a Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) at Baystate Medical Center, speed medical advances, and make novel treatments available to our diverse patient population,” said Dr. Peter Friedmann, chief Research officer for Baystate Health and associate dean for Research at UMass Medical School – Baystate. Baystate is among 11 hospitals, colleges, and other institutions to receive a total of $30.95 million in capital-grant funding to support the state’s global leadership in the life-sciences sector. There were 45 applications. The funding, provided through the MLSC’s Competitive Capital Program, is designed to support advances in human health, accelerate innovation in the areas of clinical and translational research, and expand the capacity of life-sciences development and job growth across the Commonwealth. The MLSC’s Competitive Capital Program invests capital dollars through a competitive process in high-potential economic-development projects that promise to make significant contributions to the state’s life-sciences ecosystem. The program aims to address funding gaps in capital dollars, industry support, and federal funding for educational institutions, incubators, research institutions, and workforce-training programs, while also catalyzing private and philanthropic investment to match state investment and preparing the life-sciences workforce of the future.

Springfield College School of Social Work Participates in Study Abroad in Romania

SPRINGFIELD — For the second consecutive year, Springfield College School of Social Work Professor Karen Clark-Hoey is leading a short-term study-abroad program in Romania, where she had lived and worked under Peace Corps and Fulbright from 1994 to 1997. Clark-Hoey will travel with 17 social work students from the Springfield and Worcester campuses for experiential learning on the study of social work in Romania more than 25 years after inception. “This trip is an opportunity for our students to learn firsthand from the social-work educators who first launched the profession in the early years following Romania’s 50 years of communism, and for them to gain an understanding of what it took to build systems of care for vulnerable populations across the practice spectrum where none had existed before,” Clark-Hoey said. The visitors will be working with the Department of Social Work at Babes-Bolyai University, where they will receive instruction from faculty, meet and share experiences with Romanian social work students, and make site visits to various agencies. Along with the experiential learning opportunities, the group will enjoy cultural experiences, including a visit to forests and castles deep in the region of Transylvania, a visit to Bridal Veil Falls, and participation with Outward Bound Romania, a nonprofit organization specializing in outdoor activities, both educational and recreational, that was founded in 1993 as an independent member of the internationally recognized Outward Bound International.

Ross Webber and Grinnell Moving to New Location

HOLYOKE — Ross Webber and Grinnell Insurance and Webber and Grinnell Employee Benefits are moving their offices down the street from 150 Lower Westfield Road to 98 Lower Westfield Road, Holyoke. The third-floor office suite located above Pier One has recently been remodeled to accommodate the transition. “Our team is very excited about our new space,” said Bill Grinnell, president of the agency. “It has wonderful natural light and a very contemporary feel. It also gives us enough space to continue to grow the agency, and, being at the crossroads of I-91 and I-90, it’s an easily accessible location for our clients. We’ll continue our office hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.” Webber and Grinnell purchased Ross Insurance in May 2018 and moved its employee-benefits company to the Holyoke location last November.

Hogan Technology Offers SD-WAN as a Service to Small, Mid-sized Customers

EASTHAMPTON — Hogan Technology, a leading managed-technology-services provider, announced that it now offers SD-WAN as a service to its small to mid-sized business customers (SMBs). SD-WAN is a leading technology; according to research firm Gartner, “by the end of 2019, 30% of enterprises will deploy SD-WAN technology in their branches.” The reason for the technology’s rise in popularity is due to its simultaneous capacities to increase productivity within an organization while also reducing the total cost of ownership. SD-WAN is an acronym for software-defined networking in a wide-area network (WAN). SD-WAN simplifies the management and operation of a WAN by separating the networking hardware from its control mechanism. This concept is similar to how software-defined networking implements virtualization technology to improve data-center management and operation. A key application of SD-WAN is to allow companies to build higher-performance WANs using lower-cost and commercially available internet access, enabling businesses to partially or wholly replace more expensive private WAN connection technologies such as multi-protocol label switching. SMBs that need to scale up or scale down quickly, or need to run multiple remote offices or would like greater visibility into their networks, can benefit greatly from this technology.

Berkley Human Services Selects Smith Brothers as Regional Representative

EASTHAMPTON — Berkley Human Services, a leading provider of insurance and risk-management services for social services across the U.S., has selected Smith Brothers Insurance to represent it in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. Smith Brothers, which has offices in Easthampton and West Springfield and is headquartered in Glastonbury, Conn., is an independently operated, top-100 broker in the U.S., withd has offices throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. “For decades, we have had great relationships with many of the W.R. Berkley companies,” said Joe Smith, president and CEO of Smith Brothers. “The addition of Berkley Human Services in our social-services specialty will enhance our growth plans, and, with our home base in Hartford County and expansion in Massachusetts and New York, we look forward to helping these organizations help others.”

Valley Health Systems Employees Donate Clothing to Dress for Success

HOLYOKE — Employees of Valley Health Systems, which includes Holyoke Medical Center, Holyoke Medical Group, Holyoke VNA Hospice Life Care, and River Valley Counseling Center, generously donated clothing to benefit Dress for Success of Western Massachusetts on May 16. A Holyoke Medical Center van was filled with women’s professional clothing, shoes, and accessories and delivered to the Dress for Success Boutique, located at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield. Dress for Success of Western Massachusetts collects new or gently used, freshly dry-cleaned or laundered suits, scrubs, business-appropriate apparel, shoes, and accessories for women. “Doing a clothing drive was very generous of River Valley Counseling Center and Valley Health Systems,” said Margaret Tantillo, executive director of Dress for Success Western Massachusetts. “The clothing ultimately helps a woman secure employment and helps her become financially independent.”

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