Interview with Susan Windham-Bannister of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center


Susan 2Susan opens the conversation by explaining the mission of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), which is to strengthen the life sciences cluster and turn it into an innovation ecosystem. MLSC engages stakeholders in industry and academia to accomplish their mission with a focus on five life sciences sectors.

A bottom-up approach to investing has proven effective for helping fill the gaps that hinder the pace and success of innovation, Susan adds. Through a competitive awards process, MLSC targets translational research, proof-of-concept funding, workforce development, infrastructure, and collaborative projects. Susan speaks to the value of engaging experts in the life sciences community to guide investments.

Four important lessons learned are shared during the interview, which include:

  • A bottom-up approach is consistent with the way innovation occurs;
  • Investing in a pipeline of early-stage companies is critical;
  • There is great value in making the program competitive; and,
  • Engagement of experts in the community is key.

About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
MLSCThe Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is an investment agency that supports life sciences innovation, research, development and commercialization. The MLSC is charged with implementing a 10-year, $1-billion, state-funded investment initiative. These investments create jobs and support advances that improve health and well-being. The MLSC offers the nation’s most comprehensive set of incentives and collaborative programs targeted to the life sciences ecosystem. These programs propel the growth that has made Massachusetts the global leader in life sciences. The MLSC creates new models for collaboration and partners with organizations, both public and private, around the world to promote innovation in the life sciences.

About the Excellence in TBED Awards
SSTI’s Excellence in TBED Awards recognize exceptional achievement in addressing elements that have been found in successful tech-based economies. These include a research base that generates new knowledge, mechanisms for transferring knowledge into the marketplace, an entrepreneurial culture, sources of risk capital, and a technically skilled workforce. For more information visit:

Listen to the interview (approximately 22 minutes):

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