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June 24, 2002

Sen. Clinton urges creation of New York Research Coalition

U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton today called for the creation of a New York Research Coalition with the primary aim of maximizing New York State's research strengths.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and The Business Council supported the call, which Sen. Clinton made today at a meeting of New York State college and university presidents organized by Senator Clinton on the Rensselaer campus. The Council and Rensselaer agreed to work to bring academic and corporate partners together to the coalition

The coalition's goal is to involve New York's universities, colleges, and businesses in collaborative efforts to tap New York's research strengths for intellectual, technological, and economic benefits.

"New prosperity comes from new technology, and new technology comes from university, industry, and government labs," said Ed Reinfurt, vice president of The Business Council. "That's why The Business Council encourages more collaboration among these institutions, and more government support for it.

"We'll work closely with Senator Clinton and other elected officials, and with Rensselaer and other universities, to foster research partnerships that are intellectually and economically productive."

Sen. Clinton said, "Our academic institutions are world-class. In collaboration with our highly educated workforce and our entrepreneurial business community, we have everything we need to succeed. The New York Research Coalition's work will capitalize on all of these strengths so that we can not only maximize our research funding, but we can create jobs and encourage economic development in the process."

Noting that New York's universities are committed to expanding knowledge through research and teaching, Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson said, "The research coalition announced today by Senator Clinton will extend that mission and advance the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the market place. This is critical, not only to the future of New York State but in undergirding the hopes of all people."

The coalition's goal is to create a partnership between the private sector and New York State's universities and colleges with the goal of increasing federal research funding for New York in such high-tech areas as biotechnology, information technology, and nanotechnology.

This has been a long-time goal of The Business Council.

In 2000, for example, The Business Council initiated discussions over several months with top research officials at universities, government research labs, and corporations. In these meetings, New York's research officials affirmed both the need and the promise of collaborative, multi-disciplinary, high-tech research, as well as the value of state government support to seed these collaborations.

In May of 2000, The Business Council and Cornell University sponsored a conference on technological and economic opportunities in high-tech research in New York at which New York's research and development leaders from industry, universities, and government labs considered New York's potential in this area.

Beginning in 2001, The Business Council has urged state lawmakers to commit to a sustained, focused investment in high-tech research in New York. The Council has proposed an investment on the order of $1 billion over five years. The Council has also strongly supported R&D initiatives proposed by Governor George Pataki, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.