NORTH BETHESDA, Md. (DC News Now) — Montgomery County is already home to the National Institutes of Health, the FDA, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology — but soon they will be home to another biotechnology research center.
Local leaders and representatives from several Maryland universities and a hospital solidified that promise when they put pen to paper for a new chapter in the state’s largest county.
Montgomery County Council President Gabe Albornoz was more than excited to kick off the next phase of biotechnology research in the county.
“Great things are happening here in Montgomery County. This project represents the intersection of opportunity, hope, and innovation,” said Albornoz.
In an effort to expand Montgomery County’s rich biotechnology corridor, county officials and leaders from the University of Maryland Baltimore and College Park and the University of Maryland Medical System signed a Memorandum of Understanding Thursday afternoon. This MOU promises a new research program and facility in North Bethesda.
“We’re going to be on the cutting edge of changing science,” County Executive Marc Elrich explained. “We’re going to be able to provide support for the institutions in this county to the competence in this county and working to become a magnet for more companies.”
The new program, named the Institute for Health Computing, will be a collaboration between a number of entities. The county will help provide the space and some resources, the University of Maryland Medical System will provide the data from patients, the University of Maryland College Park will provide computer science resources, and the University of Maryland School of Medicine will provide the research.
County Executive Elrich explained to DC News Now that the new facility will be partially funded by the county as they work to help provide funding for the technology necessary for research. Senator Chris Van Hollen also confirmed that he and Senator Ben Cardin have been able to secure so far $3 million for state-of-the-art equipment as part of the appropriations process this year.
The program has not yet launched, but University of Maryland Baltimore President Dr. Bruce Jarrell already has high hopes for the new research institution.
“What we envision to start off with is to have graduate students, they would be here a lot of the time,” Dr. Jarrell explained. “But we also see a whole nother cadre of students from College Park, from Baltimore, from Shady Grove, coming here as well, to learn how to do research and maybe getting interested in coming here for a career.”
The Institute for Health Computing is set to welcome students as early as this spring. The program will first be housed in a temporary space in North Bethesda before moving into a permanent facility which will be constructed on 12 acres of currently undeveloped land near the White Flint Metro station.