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Puerto Rico Science Trust achieved key milestones in 2023

The Puerto Rico Science, Technology, and Research Trust (PRSTRT) received several significant designations last year that will aid the nonprofit in its mission to make Puerto Rico a globally recognized innovation hub. These designations, accompanied by funding and grants, introduce new responsibilities and projects that will significantly contribute to the organization’s activities this year.

Besides science, technology and research, the trust fosters innovation through more than 16 programs focusing on entrepreneurship, public health and education.

Among the milestones achieved was its recognition as one of the 31 Tech Hubs by the administration of President Joe Biden to focus on biotechnology and life sciences. The trust was the sole representative from Puerto Rico. It received a Strategy Development Award to establish a consortium with entities such as Puerto Rico’s Economic Development Department, Invest PR, Industry University Research Center (Induniv), Puerto Rico Techno-Economic Corridor (PRTec), private sector companies, the University of Puerto Rico and the Molecular Sciences Research Center.  

In addition to being among more than 60 entities selected to distribute a budget of $53 million through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Build to Scale program, the trust obtained a grant of $648,108 to support technology entrepreneurs and drive economic innovation. The investment enabled the creation of BioLeap, a life sciences project incubator, in collaboration with its business acceleration program, parallel18. 

The nonprofit was also recently selected as Puerto Rico’s host for the inaugural Life Sciences Exchange between New York and Puerto Rico, to boost the life sciences industry in both jurisdictions. The initiative will connect with venture capital firm SOSV’s IndieBio NY, a biotech startup development program in New York City.

The designation was formalized during the establishment of the New York State and Puerto Rico Economic Opportunity Advisory Council, with the participation of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi.

“We are greatly honored to have been able to raise substantial funding and grants, and to have been entrusted by the federal government with pivotal roles, enabling us to lead initiatives that will have a broad impact on the economy and the use of innovation in research,” said Lucy Crespo, the trust’s chief executive officer.

The trust was also one of more than 40 teams selected to receive a new grant from the National Science Foundation for an NSF Engines Development Award, “to foster collaboration across regions to create economic, social and technological opportunities in the biopharmaceutical sector,” a media release explains. 

Last year, the trust awarded more than $14 million in scholarships through its Research Grants Program, “generating a return on investment of $43 million,” according to the release.

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