WORCESTER, Mass. - Worcester has been ranked as one of the top cities in the nation for life science research jobs, and Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives is working to encourage diversity in the field locally.

The organization awarded a series of grants Thursday morning to programs that help create a diverse workforce while solving industry needs. The goal of the grants is to promote collaboration and create opportunities for new and diverse populations to join the field.

Some of this year's recipients included Worcester State University and Quinsigamond Community College.

"Ultimately, talent and collaboration are two big themes of today, and really kind of the core of our industry's success," said MBI President and CEO Jon Weaver at Thursday's awards ceremony. "I always say talent is the jet fuel that the industry runs on and Massachusetts is just filled with it.

"CBRE recently released a report that said Massachusetts was home to not one but two of the top 15 life science talent clusters, one here in the city of Worcester, and the other being in Boston and Cambridge. That's a pretty incredible feat."

MBI predicts 40,000 new life science jobs will be created in the state by 2024.