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May 3, 2001

State announces plans for Long Island research center, Buffalo CAT

The state has announced two more major investments in regional high-tech research and development initiatives.

On April 27, the Governor announced plans for a new Center of Excellence in Information Technology on Long Island. He said support for this center from all sources would reach $100 million. On April 30, he announced creation of a Center for Advanced Technology (CAT) in Buffalo devoted to biomedical research and micro-engineering research and development.

These announcements followed the April 26 announcement of a $150 million public and private investment in a new nanoelectronics research center at the State University of New York at Albany. And in January, executives from Corning Incorporated, Kodak, and Xerox announced that they have committed $45 million toward a $75 million goal for funding for a new Center of Excellence in Photonics and Optoelectronics in Rochester.

"We continued to be heartened to hear that the struggle to agree on a budget is not undermining such strong and broad government support for the investments in R&D collaborations that are the seeds of tomorrow's prosperity," said Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh.

The Long Island Center of Excellence: The Governor said plans for the Long Island center, which is to be led by State University of New York at Stony Brook, build on his proposed $1 billion high-technology and biotechnology plan for New York, which he announced in January in his State of the State message.

Private-sector companies have already pledged $40 million for the new center, and its partners predict they will raise at least $60 million more in federal, university, and private funds over the next five years, the Governor said in a release.

The Governor's plan calls for state funds to be matched three to one by money from industry, federal, and other sources, his release said.

"This Center of Excellence is going to help make Long Island an international powerhouse in high-technology research and economic growth," Governor Pataki said.

In the last decade, information technology has accounted for a third of all growth nationally and globally, the Governor's release said. Jobs in this sector grew by more than half a million nationally, with compensation nearly 75 percent larger than the average private-sector compensation during the same period, the release added.

The collaborative efforts of participants in the center are expected to produce benefits in many areas, including: large-scale computing and data mining (which are critical to genomics and other emerging data-intensive areas); Internet applications; wireless telecommunications; health-care applications; and workforce development programs to provide the skilled employees for the high tech industry.

A key priority of the center will be developing innovative training programs, in collaboration with industry, to prepare entry-level workers in this field and to provide advanced-degree training and short courses.

The Buffalo CAT: The Buffalo CAT will be called the Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technologies. It will focus on biomedical research and micro-engineering research and development. The joint venture between the State University of New York at Buffalo and Roswell Park Cancer Institute will receive $1 million in state support.

Through its work developing state-of-the-art biomedical technology, it is intended to help create new, biotech startup companies and to help existing biomedical businesses expand their operations through new or improved product lines, the Governor said in a separate release.

In the region that encompasses Buffalo, Toronto, and Rochester, there are already 520 medical/dental/pharmaceutical companies, many of which have ongoing collaborations with academic researchers in the region, the Governor's release said.

The Buffalo metropolitan area itself boasts 77 medical industry and manufacturing firms, mostly small companies. These entities employ more than 7,500 people and report annual sales of more than $1 billion dollars.

The Governor said the Buffalo Center for Advanced Technology builds on his proposed $1 billion high-technology and biotechnology plan for New York, which includes creation of a regional Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics in Buffalo.

The Centers for Advanced Technology program, which is overseen by the state's Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR), supports university/industry collaborations in research, education and technology transfer, with a strong focus on helping New York businesses gain a technological edge on their competition. After today's announcement, there will be 15 CATs statewide, each of which receives $1 million annually in state funding.