Governor’s Signature Puts ‘Next Generation Connecticut’ Plan into Action

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has signed Next Generation Connecticut into law, clearing the way for the widely supported initiative to begin revitalizing the state’s economy through unprecedented investments in STEM research and education at UConn.

The bill, which received overwhelming bipartisan support in the General Assembly, became Public Act 13-233 when it went into effect Tuesday with Malloy’s signature at the State Capitol. A ceremony will be held in late summer or early fall at the Storrs campus to mark the successful adoption of the plan and provide updates on its various facets.

Next Generation Connecticut (#NextGenCT) positions UConn to ascend the ranks of the world’s elite research universities, as its intellectual capital is put to work energizing the state’s innovation-based economy.

This initiative will prepare students for good-paying jobs in the fields that we are working so hard to expand here in Connecticut – bioscience, engineering, digital media, and technology.

The $1.5 billion construction component is an investment in building new scientific laboratories, purchasing advanced equipment, constructing new classrooms, and adding housing. The state will also invest $137 million in operating funds to hire hundreds of new faculty, and to expand the student body in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math).

“Connecticut used to lead the world when it came to innovation – we had more patents, more groundbreaking discoveries than anywhere else in the world. Somewhere along the way, the world caught up. This is about to change,” Malloy said after signing the bill. “By targeting state resources to our flagship university, we ensure that our young people have the skills they need to fill the jobs we are so aggressively pursuing. Make no mistake, we are making Connecticut competitive again.

“This initiative will prepare students for good-paying jobs in the fields that we are working so hard to expand here in Connecticut – bioscience, engineering, digital media, and technology,” he continued. “The thousands of jobs this expansion will create, and the millions in investments and business activity it will generate, will continue to make our state an attractive place to invest, work, and do business.

Malloy thanked members of the General Assembly for their “overwhelming” bipartisan support for the initiative, and expressed his gratitude to the co-chairs of both the Finance and Higher Education Committees for moving the legislation forward.

The initiative is projected to bring in more than $270 million in new research dollars over 10 years, spur well over half a billion dollars in business activity, and support more than 4,000 permanent jobs, plus 30,000 construction jobs.

UConn President Susan Herbst has said Next Generation is unquestionably one of the largest single investments made by a state in its flagship university, and its effect on UConn will be “nothing short of transformational.”

“In an era of lagging state support for public higher education throughout the nation, Connecticut is going in the opposite direction by making extraordinary investments in its research university,” Herbst said when lawmakers approved the plan earlier this month.

“It is incredibly bold, far-sighted, and virtually unheard of in the current climate, and will make UConn one of the most research-productive universities in the world,” she said.

Endorsed by more than 100 businesses, Next Generation Connecticut includes:

  • Increasing total enrollment by 6,580, or about 30 percent. Of those, almost 3,300 will be STEM students, including 70 percent more engineering students;
  • Revolutionizing STEM infrastructure at the Storrs campus by building facilities to house materials science, physics, biology, engineering, cognitive science, genomics studies, labs, and related disciplines;
  • Establishing 50 STEM doctoral fellowships and creating the nation’s premier STEM honors program, including a residential learning community;
  • Expanding the curriculum at UConn Stamford with a strong focus on fast-growing digital media and business fields, and establishing student housing;
  • Hiring 259 new faculty members, including 200 who will be dedicated specifically to STEM programs;
  • Relocating the Greater Hartford campus from its aging West Hartford location to a vibrant downtown site to improve accessibility, strengthen collaboration with regional businesses, and promote internships to help students launch careers;
  • Investing $15 million at the Avery Point campus to modernize classroom and lab buildings and transform the dock area and waterfront operations to advance the research mission, educational activities, and public outreach efforts.