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Plans for $30M 'Smart City Hub' Lure Global Businesses to NY State
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August 27, 2013

Plans for $30M 'Smart City Hub' Lure Global Businesses to NY State

By Cheryl Kaften
TMCnet Contributor

In a sixth initiative this year intended to exploit the extraordinary technological and intellectual resources of the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced plans to transform the landmark Kiernan Plaza in downtown Albany into the site for a Smart Cities Technology Innovation (SciTI) Center.

The $3 million property—a century-old former railroad station—will be converted into a hub for “smart cities” technology companies, research, education and workforce training. Smart cities technologies include smart devices, sensors and computer chips, integrated systems, and operating software that collect and analyze data for monitoring highway conditions and improving traffic flow; protect vital infrastructure, such as bridges, data centers and utility installations; safeguard facilities, including wastewater treatment plants; and provide e-safety security in educational settings.  

The campus of the State University of New York College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany (courtesy of CNSE).

Since its inception in 2004, the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering of the University at Albany-SUNY has gained recognition worldwide as the first college ever dedicated to the emerging disciplines of nanoscience, nanoengineering, nanobioscience and nanoeconomics. CNSE's Albany NanoTech Complex is the most advanced research facility of its kind at any university—a more than $7.5 billion, 800,000-square-foot complex that attracts corporate partners and offers students a one-of-a-kind academic experience. More than 3,100 scientists, researchers, engineers, students, and faculty currently work at the college, from companies including IBM, Intel, GlobalFoundries, SEMATECH, Samsung, TSMC, Toshiba, Applied Materials (News - Alert), Tokyo Electron, ASML, and Lam Research.

The $30 million CNSE-led initiative, identified as a priority project by Governor Cuomo’s Capital Region Economic Development Council (CREDC), will position New York as a global leader in this emerging high-tech industry. CNSE was awarded $4 million as a part of Governor Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative to support the purchase and conversion of Kiernan Plaza to attract smart cities technology jobs and companies to downtown Albany. CNSE’s Smart Cities Technology Innovation Center (SCiTI) will leverage the CREDC funding to generate an additional $26 million in private sector support—leading to the creation and retention of 250 high-tech jobs in downtown Albany.

CNSE Senior Vice President and CEO Alain Kaloyeros said, “This pioneering initiative is testament to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s innovation-driven blueprint for downtown revitalization, and to the success of his Regional Economic Development Council strategy, in harnessing the fast-growing smart cities technology sector to catalyze economic vibrancy in the heart of downtown Albany. We are delighted to spearhead this [initiative], which will set this region and state apart as a proving ground for emerging technologies, breathe new life into an iconic building, and provide exciting opportunities for nanotechnology education, training, and careers for residents throughout our community.”

High Hopes for High Tech

Earlier this year, the governor launched four other projects that would also build on the promise of the CNSE–among them:

  • An innovative partnership announced last February that will enable students from Tech Valley High School (TVHS)—an Albany-based public school created in 2007 to provide today’s students with the skills necessary to be successful in tomorrow’s workforce–to locate at CNSE’s Albany NanoTech Complex in September 2014 and collaborate with CNSE on coordinated educational, training, and outreach initiatives targeting the 21st century disciplines of nanoscale science and engineering.
  • A memorandum of understanding (MOU) announced last March to establish an international partnership between New York State and the State of Israel, through a collaboration involving the CNSE and the Israeli Industry Center for Research & Development (MATIMOP) that will significantly expand business, technology, and economic relations in the burgeoning field of nanotechnology, while enabling billions of dollars in new investments and the creation of thousands of high-tech jobs in New York and Israel.
  • A deal sealed last March with Dynamax Imaging LLC, a leading developer of high-performance image sensors that had outgrown its current facility in Homer, to remain in New York by locating to the CNSE Smart System Technology and Commercialization Center of Excellence (STC) in Canandaigua. This move will spur the creation and retention of more than 100 high-tech jobs and bring CNSE’s STC to full capacity.
  • An initiative, finalized in July, that will revitalize a vacant Kodak (News - Alert) cleanroom building in Rochester by transforming it into a first-of-its-kind CNSE Photovoltaic Manufacturing and Technology Development Facility (CNSE MDF) for crystalline silicon photovoltaics, part of a $100 million initiative to attract solar energy jobs and companies to the Greater Rochester Area.
  • A partnership between Nikon Corporation, a world leader in digital imaging technology and computer chip development, and CNSE, also finalized in July,  in a $350 million investment to develop the first of its kind next generation lithography technology on 450mm wafer and create 100 high-tech jobs. Nikon joins the Global Consortium of companies working at Nanocollege that is driving the multi-billion dollar international industry transition from the current 300mm wafer platform to the next generation 450mm wafer platform.

In announcing the relationship with Nikon, Cuomo stated, “I am pleased to welcome a world renowned corporation Nikon to the Global Consortium at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering here in Albany. This new partnership is further proof that New York is the leader in innovation and research in the nanotechnology field as this important industry continues to evolve. The technologies being developed at CNSE in collaboration with these corporations will allow our state to compete for the high-tech jobs of the future, attract new investments, and grow the state’s economy.”

Edited by Alisen Downey

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