North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and Merck announced a collaboration agreement today for Merck to build a biotechnology training center at Gateway Research Park’s South Campus in East Greensboro.
Merck will outfit the facility with the equipment and classroom spaces necessary to provide and enhance academic programming and training for biotechnology careers for North Carolina A&T students. A process laboratory will allow opportunities for students to put knowledge into practice in an advanced discovery setting.
The 4,025-square-foot facility, expected to be completed in 2024, will include manufacturing and research components with vaccine manufacturing process training for new and existing Merck employees.NC A&T Logo
“Merck Durham is committed to the community and the development of talent,” said Amanda Taylor, plant manager for the Merck Manufacturing Division site in Durham, North Carolina. “In this future facility, students will learn science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills through hands-on applications in manufacturing and research.”
“This forward-thinking partnership housed on the Gateway Research campus emphasizes both N.C. A&T and Merck’s commitment to optimize and develop innovative ideas in collaborative facilities that will not only benefit health outcomes, but will strengthen our impact in the research ecosystem for this region and state going forward,” said North Carolina A&T Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.
The collaboration will add significantly to biotechnology research and education already underway in colleges and departments across A&T. In addition to biotechnology and bioengineering degree and certificate programs in the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, the colleges of Engineering, Science and Technology, and Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, the university is developing a Department of Defense-funded Center of Excellence in Biotechnology.
The collaboration aims to not only provide training, but also build a pipeline of talent for Merck and the biotechnology industry overall.
“The Merck partnership fits well within our 2030 Strategic Plan, which demonstrates our commitment to transformative engagement,” said Tonya Smith-Jackson, Ph.D., A&T provost and executive vice chancellor of Academic Affairs. “We partnered with Merck because of their commitment to advance the human condition and strong values around diversity and inclusion. A&T is central to producing highly qualified students. Our nationally-recognized excellence in community engagement will also expand access to biotech teaching, training and research.”
Nancy V. Johnston, executive director for the Piedmont Triad Region for the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, also praised the partnership news.
“This strategic academic and industry partnership is vital to advancing a globally relevant and diverse talent pipeline for the thousands of new life sciences jobs recently announced across North Carolina and in the Piedmont Triad," Johnston said. "Its location at Gateway Research Park demonstrates the importance of such a development.”