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December 14, 2000

Council applauds Senate Majority plan to spur job growth in life sciences-related fields

Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno has proposed an investment of $500 million in public and private funds to attract life-sciences industries to New York and to make the state a leader in job creation in biotechnology.

He unveiled a plan called Generating Employment through New York Science-GEN*NY*SIS-at a Dec. 14 press conference. Daniel B. Walsh, president and CEO of The Business Council, also spoke at the conference.

GEN*NY*SIS would provide a total of $225 million in state grants to match federal, industry, and academic funding. The plan also calls for targeted tax incentives to new companies launched by advances in life sciences, genomics and genetics. And the plan would foster new collaborations among companies in biotechnology and New York's universities and research institutions.

Specifically, GEN*NY*SIS over a five-year period would provide:

The Business Council applauded the idea.

The investment would help improve the quality of life for New Yorkers while providing substantial economic growth, Senator Bruno said at the press conference. "The bottom line is job creation," he said.

"The proposed programs would pay intellectual, technological, and economic dividends for generations," The Council said in a statement. "They would enrich academic institutions, biotechnology businesses, our economy, and the lives of all New Yorkers."

"We salute Senator Bruno for this creative and aggressive proposal to help New York compete and grow in this area."

GEN*NY*SIS is designed to foster collaborations among industry, academic research institutions, government research laboratories, and medical institutions, Senator Bruno said. The presidents of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the University at Albany, and Albany Medical Center joined Senator Bruno at the conference and affirmed the research communities' commitment to collaborating in life sciences-related research and development.

The program is necessary because New York is falling behind other states in investments designed to foster development of life sciences-related intellectual, technological, and economic development, Bruno noted. The government funds in the program would be intended in large part to help New York State institutions attract a larger share of federal research dollars, which often require matching funds, Bruno said.

He noted that New York State once ranked first among all states in attracting grants from the National Institutes of Health but has fallen to third and is now attracting $400 million a year less than it did when it ranked first.

At the conference, Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh noted that many other states are investing on a large scale with the same intent: to attract federal grant dollars for life sciences-related projects.

What's more, the federal government's budget support for research in these areas is growing substantially, he noted. "Clearly there is a substantial pot of money to be chased, and the race is on," he said. (Click here to see The Business Council's complete statement on GEN*NY*SIS.)

"The goal of GEN*NY*SIS is the creation of new jobs for New Yorkers and to make our state an undisputed leader in research and development of applied life sciences technology," Bruno said.

In addition to Senator Bruno, the proposal was developed by:Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ronald B. Stafford (R-Plattsburgh); Higher Education Chairman Kenneth P. LaValle (R-Port Jefferson); Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business Chairman James S. Alesi (R-Monroe County); Investigatons, Taxation, and Government Operations Chairman Roy M. Goodman (R-Manhattan); and Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City).

The Business Council has been exploring for many months the merits of advocating a substantial public and private initiative designed to exploit the technological and economic potential of emerging technologies, such as the life sciences and computing technologies.

Last June, The Council cosponsored, with Cornell University and other major research initiatives, a two-day conference on possible collaborative projects involving genomics and the life sciences. (Click here to read a detailed summary of that conference and a proposal for a life-sciences corridor that was discussed at it. For a related article on how life sciences can drive economic development, click here.)

And just last month, The Council sponsored a panel discussion involving industry and academic leaders in technology on the topic of collaborate technology-development ventures involving government, business, and research institutions. Click here to read a summary of that session.