The University of Massachusetts could position itself as a contender in the stem cell research arena by developing a new system-wide institute to advance life sciences through human and animal research, according to a report to the university’s board of trustees.

UMass trustees plan to discuss the proposal when they meet March 14th in Worcester. The report says the university should invest at least $66 million over six years to establish the center.

Harvard University has already dedicated $50 million to encourage scientific research across interdisciplinary lines, particularly in the stem cell research area.

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