Presidential Visit Draws Attention to New York's Nanoscience Industry
By Amy Gernon Published: May 07 2012
President Obama is scheduled to deliver an address on the economy at SUNY Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.
President Obama is scheduled to visit New York on Tuesday to deliver an address on the economy at the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.
Last week it was announced that the President’s initial plan to speak at GlobalFoundries, a computer chip manufacturer in Saratoga County was changed due to logistical details. Representatives of the manufacturing company will be in Albany for the President’s address.
This will be President Obama’s third trip to New York’s Capital Region. In 2009, Obama visited Hudson Valley Community College in Troy in 2009, and a General Electric turbine factory in Schenectady in 2011. The President is expected to speak about the impact new technologies can have on national, state and local economies.
Most of New York state has long been considered part of the growing “rust belt,” an area stretching from the Midwest throughout the Northeast where once-prosperous communities grew up around large-scale manufacturing plants, a large percentage of which have now shut down. Nanoscience is one of New York’s fastest growing industries, especially in regions where manufacturing has already undergone a long, steady decline. Because its developments enables progress in a variety of fields, from medicine, electronics and green technologies, to bioengineering and military applications, nanoscience research has received a lot of governmental and private funding and partnerships. The growing field of nanoscale manufacturing has been replacing jobs lost to the closures of more traditional factories. Nearly 13,000 jobs have been created statewide to support the industry.
The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, operated by SUNY, is a critical feature of New York’s emerging science and tech industries. Thomas Gais, Director of the Rockefeller Institute, predicted nearly a year ago that nanoscience innovations would be central to the national economic recovery and in strengthening the economy well into the future, giving New Yorkers ample opportunities to find secure employment.
“What began in a basement physics lab has attracted some $6 billion in private-sector investment. Albany Nano now hosts some 2,600 scientists, researchers, engineers and technicians -- up from 72 jobs when the first of its five buildings opened only 10 short years ago. It's the linchpin of the chip-fab boom underway in Saratoga County. It has spawned spin-off research and jobs from Fishkill to Canandaigua,” Gais wrote late june.
UAlbany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering is considered a model for academic-private-government partnerships. The state initially invested $1 billion in the development of the college, which subsequently attracted corporate sponsors including Intel and IBM. In an interview with CBS, Alain Kaloyeros, CEO of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, “For the first time in history, to my knowledge, the computer chip and nanotechnology industry have put together a consortium that is run and managed by the state, by a college, not by the industry itself.”
Similar partnerships have been established at other universities, including SUNY Stony Brook which is part of Long Island Regional Innovation Cluster, which was designed to foster greater development and introduce emerging products to the market.
The President’s visit aligns with his recent college campus campaign tour, but this time with a triple emphasis on education, industry and scientific innovation. The President’s Council of Advisors for Science and Technology released a report in April states that progress has been made in an effort to maintain the United States’ global leadership in nanotechnology among competitors including the European Union, South Korea, China and Russia. The council’s recommendations for 2012 include developing metrics to assess the social and commercial impacts of nano-tech and refining strategic planning for development and implementation.
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