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COLUMN: Investment in innovation pays off with job dividends

— We hear a lot about using our assets at colleges and universities to help create jobs. I support efforts to see that our regional economy benefits from the intellectual capital and resources at our state’s higher education institutes. It's a sensible partnership when businesses are welcome at colleges across the state to help them patent and develop their ideas and this is supported with state funds. Pairing technology with innovation and resources will help create more jobs.

In the 2011-12 state budget, I voted to merge the New York State Division of Science, Technology and Innovation with Empire State Development. The merger recognized the role of innovation when it comes to economic growth in the state. The mission of NYSTAR is to help new and existing businesses become more competitive through the use of innovative technologies. A key part of the merger is to strengthen the research and technology capabilities of our colleges and universities to help create high tech growth, according to its website.

NYSTAR is responsible for assuring that its programs result in increased technology partnerships throughout the state. These programs include: Centers of Excellence; Centers for Advanced Technology; Regional Technology Development Centers; and High Performance Computing Program.

According to NYSTAR's website, the Centers of Excellence Program supports major upgrades of research facilities and other high technology and biotechnology capital projects, allowing colleges, universities and research institutions to secure research funding that will lead to new job creation. In total, these initiatives are expected to leverage new private sector and other contributions of more than $1 billion.

There are many offices across the state that work with businesses, which partner with NYSTAR. According to NYSTAR’s website, the CASE Center at Syracuse University is one of many. CASE stands for Computer Applications and Software Engineering. It is a research organization focused on computer applications and software engineering. CASE provides the first point of contact for the private and public sectors to access SU. Its focus is supporting electronics and information technology.

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