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Investment in Innovation Pays Off with Job Dividends

By Assemblyman Will Barclay
We hear a lot about using our assets at colleges and universities to help create jobs. I support efforts to see that our regional economy benefits from the intellectual capital and resources at our state’s higher education institutes. It’s a sensible partnership when businesses are welcome at colleges across the state to help them patent and develop their ideas and this is supported with state funds. Pairing technology with innovation and resources will help create more jobs.

In the 2011-12 state budget, I voted to merge the New York State Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) with Empire State Development. The merger recognized the role of innovation when it comes to economic growth in the state. The mission of NYSTAR is to help new and existing businesses become more competitive through the use of innovative technologies. A key part of the merger is to strengthen the research and technology capabilities of our colleges and universities to help create high tech growth, according to its website.

NYSTAR is responsible for assuring that its programs result in increased technology partnerships throughout the state. These programs include: Centers of Excellence; Centers for Advanced Technology (CATS); Regional Technology Development Centers; and High Performance Computing Program.

According to NYSTAR’s website, the Centers of Excellence Program supports major upgrades of research facilities and other high technology and biotechnology capital projects, allowing colleges, universities and research institutions to secure research funding that will lead to new job creation. In total, these initiatives are expected to leverage new private sector and other contributions of more than $1 billion.

There are many offices across the state that work with businesses, which partner with NYSTAR. According to NYSTAR’s website, the CASE Center at Syracuse University is one of many.

CASE stands for Computer Applications and Software Engineering. It is a research organization focused on computer applications and software engineering.  CASE provides the first point of contact for the private and public sectors to access SU. Its focus is supporting electronics and information technology.

SU is also home to a Center for Excellence, which receives state funds through Empire State Development. There are five Centers of Excellence across the state. Each center is located at a university and has its specific area of focus. One in Albany focuses on nanotechnology. One in Binghamton focuses on microelectronics research and development.

In Buffalo, the center focuses on drug design research, computational and three-dimensional visualization, product commercialization and workforce training. Stony Brook specializes in wireless and information technology.

The one in Syracuse focuses on energy, indoor air quality, comfort, lighting, acoustics and intelligent controls.

Many businesses have benefitted and created jobs thanks to these partnerships with NYSTAR and the Centers of Excellence. Ephesus Technologies, LLC., of Syracuse, is just one. They have collaborated with Electrical and Computer Engineering through Cornell’s Jumpstart program, also funded by NYSTAR, to design an advanced radio frequency amplifier.

A company called Innovative Dynamics is developing a new type of silicone rubber tape that will have military applications.

They too have worked with Jumpstart.  Another company called MicroGen Systems LLC, of Ithaca and Cornell’s University’s Energy Materials Center (emc2), are working to develop self-charging batteries that use background shaking and stirring for their energy source.

This is exciting invention when virtually everyone has a rechargeable device.

In December, the state announced $738 million has been awarded through round two of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. The Regional Councils were put in place in 2011 to redesign the state’s approach to economic development. While this is separate than NYSTAR, it deserves mentioning because it falls under our state’s Economic Development Council.

The Regional Council partners community, business, and academic leaders, as well as members of the public in each region of the state, to develop strategic plans tailored to each region’s strengths and resources in order create jobs and support economic growth. The Central New York region received $93.8 million for 73 projects, which include support of energy, tourism, food processing and housing and healthcare projects.

A local NYSTAR organization that works with county and regional industrial development agencies is the Central New York Technology Development Organization (CNYTDO). This is a private, not-for-profit organization that works with technology and manufacturing companies to develop business strategies, implement technologies, assist in the transfer of university-developed technologies, and smooth the transition from start-ups to mature organizations.

For more information on how to apply for funding or to learn more, contact the NYSTAR staff via [email protected] or call (518) 292-5700.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office.

My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.

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