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Gov. Pataki awards NYSTAR Center focusing on environmental quality systems to group led by Syracuse University
Gov. Pataki awards NYSTAR Center focusing on environmental quality systems to group led by Syracuse UniversityMay 04, 2001Jonathan Hayjhay@syr.edu
Gov. George E. Pataki announced May 3 that a consortium led by Syracuse University has been awarded $15.9 million by the New York State Office of Science, Technology & Academic Research (NYSTAR) to create the New York Environmental Quality Systems (NYEQS) Center. “This new STAR Center in Syracuse represents another major milestone in our efforts to create a comprehensive plan to foster the growth of high-tech and biotech research across the state,” Gov. Pataki says. “This new Center will attract a critical mass of nationally recognized researchers, generate significant new research funding, and spur the establishment of spinoff enterprises. When combined with our new $1 billion dollar high-tech/biotech Centers of Excellence initiative and the unprecedented investment we have made during the past six years, we will continue to create new jobs and opportunities throughout upstate New York.” The Center will be dedicated to world-class research, job creation and improvements in environmental quality. The $15.9 million grant will provide capital funding for construction of a home for the center in the Syracuse University Research Park on SU’s South Campus. The funding will also provide research equipment for SU and its partner institutions. “This is a great day for Syracuse University, our partner institutions, and for Central New York,” says SU Chancellor Kenneth A. Shaw. “SU is well-known for excellence in teaching and research concerning environmental issues. Together with our partners, we will create a world-class center that supports job creation and improvements in environmental quality throughout the region and the state.” The Center will combine the expertise and resources of Syracuse University and the Metropolitan Development Association of Syracuse and Central New York; the New York Indoor Environmental Quality (NYIEQ) Center Inc.; the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry; SUNY Upstate Medical University; Clarkson University; Cornell University; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; SUNY Albany; SUNY Buffalo; the Institute of Ecosystem Studies; and the Upstate Freshwater Institute. The Center’s mission is to improve human health and performance, reduce energy consumption, and improve quality of life associated with built environments and urban ecosystems by conducting research and development, technology transfer and education in environmental quality systems (EQS). “This award is a grand slam for SU and its partners,” says Edward A. Bogucz, dean of SU’s L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS), who spearheaded the grant proposal. “We have an extraordinary group of outstanding people who will work on pathfinding research of international significance in environmental quality. This is a true group effort. All the institutions involved with the Center are active partners, and that kind of collaboration will lead to great results.” The NYSTAR grant is expected to jumpstart the NYEQS Center by constructing a research and development complex with lab facilities that enable and showcase pioneering collaborative research and product development projects. It is also expected to strengthen existing research facilities at the NYEQS Center partner institutions and establish a high-performance communications network to support collaboration among researchers at distributed sites and industry partners across the state. One key function of the Center will be its role in developing relationships with New York state industry involved in environmental quality systems. More than 6,600 New York companies that employ nearly 90,000 workers and have combined annual revenues of $18.6 billion work in a field related to environmental quality systems. “On behalf of the Metropolitan Development Association, representing the business leadership of Central New York, I want to commend Gov. Pataki for his leadership and for recognizing our region’s enormous potential in the area of indoor environmental quality,” says MDA President H. Douglas Barclay. “The creation of the Strategically Targeted Academic Research Center in Environmental Quality Systems at Syracuse University will be remembered as one of the most significant developments we’ve witnessed. It holds incredible promise as a conduit for improving public health and creating jobs, and for helping establish Syracuse and Central New York as a world leader in this exploding new field.” Barclay says the initiative is a direct result of Vision 2010, the MDA’s regional economic strategy that identified environmental quality as an industry cluster having the greatest potential to create jobs and drive the Central New York economy in years to come. The NYEQS Center is the fourth of seven partnership centers and programs envisioned in the Vision 2010 plan to become a reality in less than a year. One of the partnership centers–the New York Indoor Environmental Quality Center Inc.–will work closely with the NYEQS, as the two share common research goals. “The NYEQS Center will energize product research and development activities that are already under way at the New York Indoor Environmental Quality Center Inc.,” says Lee Davis, NYIEQ executive director. “By the end of the decade, our collaborations will lead to the retention and creation of thousands of new jobs in the IEQ sector alone. Further, we will leverage the millions of dollars that the federal government has already awarded NYIEQ to conduct leading-edge engineering, medical and environmental research. The region’s highly regarded IEQ, manufacturing and service firms are totally committed to this initiative. The synergies to be made between academe and business have no limits.” While the economic impact in New York state will be significant, the academic partnerships will be equally important. Bogucz says the academic collaboration will take place on two levels–interdisciplinary work within individual institutions and collaborative efforts among separate institutions. For example, at Syracuse University four different colleges–Bogucz’s L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science, The College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Architecture and the College of Visual and Performing Arts–will work together on research and projects related to interactions between “built environments” (such as buildings, automobiles and airplanes), occupants, and surrounding urban and natural ecosystems. SU will also collaborate with the other institutions in the consortium to access their expertise. “This new center is very important, not only to the educational institutions but also to the economy of Central New York,” says Cornelius B. Murphy Jr., president of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. “Through the center, we hope good applied research will lead to the creation of exciting new jobs in this unique area of environmental systems. ESF is fully committed to working with Syracuse University and our partners to make the Center a success.” A major area of study at the NYEQS Center will be in health and human performance. The Center will research human responses to a range of environmental disturbances, including air quality, sound, lighting, ergonomics and thermal comfort. The existing expertise of SUNY Upstate Medical University will be relied on heavily in the research. “This project is a splendid example of what can be accomplished when various institutions, in particular those on the University Hill, step forward and work together in a positive and collaborative way,” says Gregory L. Eastwood, M.D., president of SUNY Upstate Medical University. “We appreciate the effort of Gov. Pataki and the Legislature to invest in academic research centers with the understanding that we can be the engine for economic development across New York state.”