What's New

Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

September 27, 2001

Head of NYSTAR: New York will seek growth from technology

New York's research universities and academic centers are powerful tools for economic development, and harnessing these institutions' potential as engines of growth will remain a priority for state government, Russell Bessette, executive director of New York State Office of Science, Technology, and Academic Research (NYSTAR) told The Business Council.

Bessette outlined the priorities and activities of NYSTAR Sept. 20 at The Council's Annual Meeting.

A key element of NYSTAR's mission is developing these institutions potential for economic development and high-tech job creation, Bessette said.

"How we get there will be by having smart people with the right equipment focusing on the needs of technology," Bessette said. "That potent combination will drive development and subsequent commercialization of new technology."

The 21st century has been called the biotechnology century because it represents a convergence of the life sciences and the informational sciences, he said. Advances in informational sciences have helped focus the efforts of chemistry, mathematics and physics, which helped produce such advances as computers transistors and integrated circuits.

Many researchers suggest that the future rests in photonics (which focuses on efforts to develop computing applications which rely on photons, or light, to carry information) and nanotechnology (which focuses on developing devices that are so small that they are measured in molecules).

The need to make things smaller, cheaper and faster will be the driving force behind future technological developments, Bessette said.

"Quite possibly the moon shot of the 21st century will be journeys within the human body seeking improved health and longevity," he said.

Created in 1999, NYSTAR is charged with expanding New York's leadership position in high-technology research and economic development, especially through programs to encourage contributions to growth from New York's universities and academic centers.

In pursuit of this mission, NYSTAR administers a number of initiatives, including: Strategically Targeted Academic Research (STAR) Centers and Advanced Research Centers (ARCs), where basic scientific research is conducted; Centers for Advanced Technology (CATs), which focus on applied science, new technology and technology transfer; and Regional Technology Development Centers (RTDCs), which offer enterpreneurs an incubator setting along with product and process enhancement.

NYSTAR also organizes information to help researchers and universities prepare successful grant applications. And it develops policies so the state can more effectively share in royalty and licensing fees generated from new technologies.