PITTSFIELD -- The executive director of the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority said the agency should benefit from a $308,000 capital grant designed to conduct a formal study of life sciences-related economic development in Western Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center recently awarded the grant for a research project at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

The project is intended to be a formal study of opportunities to catalyze life sciences and life sciences-related economic development in the four counties of Western Massachusetts.

PEDA, which is charged with developing the 52-acre William Stanley Business Park of the Berkshires, has long expressed an interest in constructing an incubator building for startup life sciences companies.

On Wednesday, the board approved leasing space in its administration building on Kellogg Street to Nuclea Biotechnologies Inc. to house a computer cluster that analyzes genetic material.

"Anything that relates to the growth and study of the life sciences in Western Massachusetts is going to benefit all of our efforts," said executive director Cory Thurston.

The grant funding is intended to increase the breadth and depth of industry collaborations; enhance access of other stakeholders to assets at UMass Amherst and the Pioneer Valley; to serve as a connector to the UMass system and beyond; and to catalyze the Western Massachusetts innovation ecosystem, especially in the life sciences.

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center is charged with implementing the state's 10-year, $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative that the state Legislature approved in 2008.