The North Carolina Biotechnology Center is launching an annual award that is named after H. Martin Lancaster, the president of the North Carolina Community College System.

Norris Tolson, chief executive officer of the Biotech Center, announced the award Thursday. It will be presented to a biotechnology instructor in the community colleges’ BioNetwork program for training biotech and pharmaceutical workers.

“Martin Lancaster has had a long history of service to North Carolina,” said Tolson, “and that has included his major role in workforce training through community colleges statewide. Our 56,000 biotech jobs at more than 450 companies pay an average starting wage of $30 an hour at the manufacturing level. This groundwork Martin did through the community colleges will continue to carry us into the future.”

Lancaster is retiring from the community college post on April 30.