Merck, A&T launch joint Merck Biotechnology Learning Center

04/19/2024 Research and Economic Development

Collaboration supports student enrichment and workforce development in North Carolina

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (April 19, 2024) – Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University announced today the opening of the Merck Biotechnology Learning Center at Gateway Research Park in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The Merck Biotechnology Learning Center is a 4,025-square-foot facility that includes classroom space, a process laboratory and state-of-the-art biopharmaceutical manufacturing equipment. In the Learning Center, students and Merck trainees will experience hands-on learning and advanced discovery opportunities to enhance academic programming and training for biotechnology careers.

"We are embarking on a significant journey with the launch of the Merck Biotechnology Learning Center and our collaboration with N.C. A&T,” said Sanat Chattopadhyay, executive vice president and president, Merck Manufacturing Division. “The Learning Center is not just a building; it's an incubator for innovation, a path to discovery, and a beacon guiding the next generation of thinkers, problem-solvers and leaders who will drive our industry forward.”

The opening was marked with a joint celebration that included senior leaders from both Merck and A&T, current and former A&T students, and local government officials, including North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. Attendees participated in tours of the lab and classroom facilities to see firsthand the immersive learning opportunities.

Merck and A&T, America’s premier historically Black doctoral research university, developed this collaboration based on mutual values of innovation, community engagement and a commitment to diversity and inclusion. The joint effort between Merck and A&T supports the increasing need for biotech training and education in North Carolina and highlights the importance of business and historically Black college and university (HBCU) cooperation in growing diverse talent in the biotech sector.

“The Merck Biotechnology Learning Center will provide opportunities for N.C. A&T students to understand what a career in biotech looks like,” said Amanda Taylor, vice president and plant manager at the Merck Manufacturing Division site in Durham, North Carolina. “We have several wonderful N.C. A&T graduates working at our Durham site already, and there is so much growth in manufacturing across North Carolina. Through our collaboration with N.C. A&T, we’re developing new and innovative ways to build a pipeline of talent in the Triad and beyond.”

The opening of the Merck Biotechnology Learning Center is the launch of a long-term collaboration between Merck and A&T. The two organizations will partner on several initiatives to support student enrichment, including curricula development, a speaker series and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) community outreach.

“I am thrilled to announce our groundbreaking collaboration with Merck, which heralds a new era of innovation in biotechnology education," said Tonya Smith-Jackson, Ph.D., provost and executive vice chancellor of Academic Affairs. “This partnership signifies a union between academia and industry, and a commitment to excellence, innovation and the advancement of scientific knowledge, as it not only provides our students with unparalleled access to state-of-the-art labs, but also invaluable mentorship from Merck professionals, ensuring they emerge as industry-ready leaders poised to shape the future of biotechnology. The Merck Biotechnology Learning Center will serve as a hub of learning and discovery, and it is also the start of a collaboration where we are going to jointly advance the mission of both Merck and N.C. A&T.”

Merck has been a member of the North Carolina community for more than 40 years. Today, nearly 1,500 Merck colleagues work at North Carolina facilities in Durham and Wilson, including numerous A&T alumni. A&T's College of Engineering is the No. 1 producer of African American graduates in engineering in the United States.

Media Contact Information: jtorok@ncat.edu

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