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Mayor Launches NYC Urban Tech Innovation Center
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January 24, 2011

Mayor Launches NYC Urban Tech Innovation Center

By Ashok Bindra
TMCnet Contributor

To promote the development and commercialization of green building technologies in New York City, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (News - Alert) has launched the NYC Urban Technology Innovation Center.

This initiative will connect academic institutions conducting underlying research, companies creating the associated products, and building owners who will use those technologies.

Through the Center – a partnership of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Columbia University, Polytechnic Institute of New York University, and the City University of New York (CUNY) – green building technology companies that need real-world test sites will be joined with building owners looking to benefit from the latest developments and willing to provide a test environment.

The Center will also maintain a database of current green building technology needs and research, and it will host a series of community building forums. The announcement took place at Columbia University’s new Northwest Corner interdisciplinary research building.

 “We will never meet the ambitious carbon reduction goals in NYC unless we reduce the emissions from New York’s one million existing buildings,” said Mayor Bloomberg, in a statement. “By bringing together New York City’s business innovators, academics and building owners, the NYC Urban Technology Innovation Center will capitalize on some of our City’s greatest strengths, creating jobs and helping realize our vision of a greener, greater New York.”

The NYC Urban Technology Innovation Center will promote the development of New York City’s green building technology in three ways. First, it will provide companies with opportunities in buildings to test their innovations in operational buildings, which will help them improve their products as well as collect data on their performance. In exchange, participating building owners would be eligible to employ the technologies at discounted rates.

Second, it will develop an information and data clearinghouse to track building technology costs, benefits, and lessons learned from deployments underway throughout the City. Third, it will host stakeholder discussions with private sector and academic institutions on green building entrepreneurship, financing and city-specific challenges.

Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science through its Center for Technology, Innovation, and Community Engagement will manage and operate the NYC Urban Technology Innovation Center.

“Mayor Bloomberg has made New York’s environmental sustainability a priority for ensuring a vibrant economy, public health and quality of life in the decades to come. His administration has recognized that our universities generate the scientific knowledge and technological innovation central to maintaining both our urban environment and our economic dynamism,” said Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger.

“With Columbia’s deep history of pioneering research in engineering and applied science, we are proud to join with the City and our academic partners in hosting this public-private collaboration that will lead to new sustainable solutions and new entrepreneurial opportunities in New York,” added Bollinger.

The new Center is the latest initiative in the city’s efforts to facilitate interactions between academics undertaking research on new technologies and private sector businesses looking to help bring R&D out of the lab and into the economy.

These include the NYC Media Lab launched in 2010 with Columbia University and NYU-Poly; JumpStart, a partnership with SUNY’s Levin Institute to help laid-off financial service professionals transfer their skills to work with City startups; and the Varick Street Incubator with NYU-Poly, where tenants have raised more than $20 million in funding.

In December 2010, the City issued a Request for Expressions of Interest from the academic world for a partnership to create a-state-of-the-art applied sciences campus, seen as a major opportunity to strengthen New York City’s position as a global innovation leader.

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Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Janice McDuffee

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