MDA, Syracuse University announce strategic plan for Central New York Technology Development
Syracuse University and the Metropolitan Development Association today announced the Central New York Technology Development Strategic Plan, a comprehensive, collaborative effort intended to accelerate regional technology development, create jobs, and establish the region as a world leader on several high-tech fronts.
The strategic plan will guide the region’s emergence as a leader in two key areas: 1) environmental systems engineering and 2) information access and management technologies. The growth of those technologies will rely on the work of centers or programs either proposed or already in place and will capitalize on the participation of the region’s university and research community; its business community; local, state and federal government; and other organizations working on behalf of Central New York’s growth and prosperity.
“This reflects a true public/private partnership that will elevate the region’s standing as a leader in technology development,” said MDA president H. Douglas Barclay. “It capitalizes on our strengths and our abilities, and ultimately, it will mean the creation of thousands of highly compensated technology jobs.”
The technology development strategic plan springs directly from the MDA’s long-term blueprint for regional economic growth, Vision 2010, which identified a number of regional industry clusters bearing the greatest potential for growth. Using those findings as a guide, the MDA and Syracuse University developed the focus of its plan based on the business and educational community’s ability to launch aggressive research and development, education, training and economic development initiatives.
“Central New York has all of the elements necessary to emerge as a major force in these two exploding technology fields,” said SU Chancellor Kenneth A. Shaw. “The partnership established through the strategic plan is key to achieving this goal. By combining and concentrating our strengths in these two areas, we are positioned for development of a major center that will significantly impact the future of Central New York.”
Environmental Systems Engineering combines regional strengths in environmental and electronics technologies to create integrated systems that cost-effectively improve environmental quality and human health and performance. This project cluster includes proposals for:
- The continued development of the New York Indoor Environmental Quality Center, Inc., recently established by the MDA in collaboration with SU and other educational and business partners. The IEQ Center is an industry-university R&D partnership that focuses on marketable technologies to prevent, remediate or control problems of indoor environments. This center promises enormous economic benefit for the region. Vision 2010 estimates that the center’s R&D and product development activities could help Central New York firms capture 1 percent of the indoor environmental quality commercial market, where 33 percent of the buildings are “sick,” according to OSHA. Conservatively, this means the region’s companies can generate $500 million in IEQ businesses over the next 10 years, resulting in 5,700 new IEQ-related jobs in our region.
- The creation of a New York Environmental Quality Systems Center, under the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research’s Strategically Targeted Academic Research (STAR) program. The NYEQS Center would specialize in environmental quality systems, whose applications would include commercial and residential buildings and urban, regional and global ecosystems. The proposed NYEQS Center builds on the unique strengths of eight research universities throughout Upstate New York, including Syracuse University (specifically the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science and the School of Architecture), the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Cornell University, Clarkson University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Albany and Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute.
- An initiative to establish the Northeast Environmental Systems Institute (NESI) to coordinate research and education relating to the impact of human activities (e.g., discharge of wastewater and changing land-use patterns) and environmental disturbances (e.g., droughts and storms) on environmental systems through exploration of the responses of complex environmental systems to multiple disturbances and assessment of mitigation strategies. SUNY ESF; Cornell University; O’Brien & Gere; Blasland, Bouck & Lee; Stearns & Wheler; C&S Engineers; Robson & Woese; and Syracuse Research Corp. are among the partners collaborating with SU on this multidisciplinary approach to sustainable development.
- Continuing support for the Maxwell School of Citizenship-EPA-funded Environmental Finance Center, one of nine such centers around the country, which helps local governments and the private sector address regulatory and economic development issues relating to the environment.
Information Access and Management Technologies combines regional strengths in electronics and information technologies to create integrated systems for information retrieval and management. This focus area addresses critical issues of quality, security and reliability of information and communication channels. Specific initiatives in this area include:
- Economic Stimulus Centers within Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies to develop and provide access to leading-edge technologies and applications of interest to local companies and community organizations. These would include applications for e-commerce, advanced telecommunications, and emerging network computing. The nationally known School of Information Studies counts among its corporate partners Merck, Alcatel, Eastman Kodak, Xerox Corp. and Verizon.
- The Center for Computer Applications and Software Engineering (CASE) Center and its programs to support new business in information engineering and access technologies. The CASE Center, a New York State Center for Advanced Technology for the past 17 years, focuses on such key technical areas as information system design, information assurance, and high-performance distributed computing. The CASE Center also houses a state-of-the-art business incubator for start-ups and provides these entrepreneurs with expert assistance in patenting, intellectual property issues, business financing and market analysis.
- The CASE Center’s new thrusts in SAID (sense, analyze, interpret, decide) technologies and information assurance. SAID-based systems automate knowledge, interpret events, and derive meaning from observations. They are used in such operations as radar and sonar, telemedicine and Internet security. Some Central New York companies involved in this specialty include Welch Allyn and WetStone Technologies.
- The CASE Center’s “SUPRIA” program, whose mission is to explore cutting-edge technologies that protect information as it travels over the Internet, wireless channels and other electronic media. Ernst & Young, Welch Allyn and Syracuse Research Corp. are partnering with SU on the SUPRIA program.
- The Advanced Interactive Discovery Environments (AIDE) for Engineering Education, for reshaping engineering education and practice. With initial funding from NASA and a matching grant from New York State, AIDE is developing a virtual discovery environment that enables users to work together across geographical distances to solve complex, multidisciplinary problems. The architecture is being developed so that it can be expanded or modified to include other engineering disciplines and all levels of education, including K-12.
Syracuse University and the MDA have taken significant first steps in implementing technology initiatives such as the IEQ Center and the CASE Center, and are committed to the implementation of the integrated education, R&D and business development initiatives within the six centers and programs. The MDA and Syracuse University also recognize that plans to drive technology development must be complemented by efforts to maintain a quality workforce. One such effort is the recently announced Workforce Development Initiative, which was developed by the MDA in partnership with SU and local businesses. With funding from the New York State Assembly, the initiative is helping to improve the business and employment climate in the Syracuse area by training workers to fill jobs and connecting businesses with trained workers.
The MDA, representing Central New York’s business leadership, began implementation of Vision 2010 in 1996. The program’s goals are to increase employment by 50,000, increase real wages to the national averages, and increase the region’s population by one percent by the end ofthe decade.